August 31, 2021 | By Bronwen Largier

Following Qantas’ concrete vaccination policy announced almost a fortnight ago, Virgin Australia is taking the same approach – albeit a little later – to mandating vaccinations amongst its staff.

Australia’s second major airline says it will begin consulting with staff and intends to release a mandatory vaccination policy for employees within a month.

Under the initial proposal, Virgin Australia is aiming to have all frontline staff vaccinated by November 15 and office staff by March 31 2022.

“Virgin Australia is not alone as a business in being deeply affected by the events of recent months,” said Virgin Australia CEO Jayne Hrdlicka.

“It is clear that vaccination is the only way back to normal freedom of movement and the richness in life that comes from spending meaningful, in person time with family, friends and colleagues.

“Vaccination is the only solution to the situation Australia currently finds itself in, and something we have determined is vital to keep our team safe, given the high public exposure most of them encounter day to day.

“The majority of our team at Virgin Australia are already vaccinated, and we will be listening to our team members to ensure we find the best fit policy for our organisation.

“We will now commence discussing the proposed vaccination requirement in detail with our team through our internal safety committees, unions and other appropriate forums.

“We know that some team members have questions and concerns about vaccinations. Through an internal campaign of education with qualified experts, we aim to inform and assure as many of our team members as possible.

“We trust medical experts, their advice and the evidence that shows that vaccines save lives and reduce hospitalisation rates.”

A recent internal survey at the airline showed 75 percent of frontline staff had already had one dose of vaccination with another nine percent registered for vaccination. Of its office staff, who don’t receive priority access to a COVID-19 vaccine, at least 83 percent had either received a first dose or were registered for a vaccine.

Virgin Australia has also flagged that it will launch its promised vaccine incentive campaign for customers this week.