In a bid to speed up Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine rollout, Qantas has revealed it’s considering offering rewards to travellers who get both doses of either Pfizer or AstraZeneca.
While nothing’s been confirmed, the national carrier said incentives like flight vouchers, frequent flyer points or status credits could be on the cards.
Qantas chief customer officer, Stephanie Tully made the announcement following news of Victoria’s snap seven-day lockdown on May 27, which led to several high-profile personalities and politicians arguing that if everyone had already been vaccinated another lockdown wouldn’t be required. So far, only about 3.9 million doses of the coronavirus vaccine have been administered in Australia — well behind the United States’ 289 million doses and the United Kingdom’s 62 million doses.
“As a large company that relies on travel to put our people and planes back to work, we’re obviously motivated to help with the national vaccine effort,” Tully said in a statement, obtained by The Australian.
“Hopefully other companies are looking at incentive options as well,” Tully said. “Qantas is a big supporter of Australia’s vaccine rollout because of what it means for public health, but also because it’s the key to keeping our domestic borders open and safely restarting international travel as well.”
Tully said Qantas is still working out how the scheme could be rolled out, but Qantas points, Qantas or Jetstar flight vouchers, or status credits for frequent flyers are all considerations.
It comes days after Australia’s top doctor, Professor Paul Kelly, urged the government to introduce incentives such as cash, lotteries or discounts, to encourage more people to get vaccinated against Covid-19 after a study last week found nearly one-third of Australians don’t intend to get the jab.
Speaking to the media on May 24, Australia’s chief medical officer said the government needed to find new ways to encourage people.
“If you are in a group that has been offered the vaccine, please do not hesitate,” Kelly said at the press conference. “Do not wait until the end of the year.”
Should Australia go down the path of offering incentives, such as those related to travel, it will follow countries such as the US and Serbia.
In the US lottery schemes to get more people onboard have been introduced. Free beer, doughnuts and vegetables have also been up for grabs. Meanwhile, in Serbia, people are being offered the equivalent of $40 just to get their first dose of the vaccine.