Aussies: vaccinate visitors
AUSTRALIANS have come out strongly in favour of Covid-19 vaccinations for international travellers, with three in four saying the jab should be mandatory for all passengers.
A new poll of more than 1000 Australians by Bastion Insights revealed 75 per cent of respondents support the idea, which has long been championed by Qantas chief executive Alan Joyce.
A big majority (71 per cent) said vaccinations should also be mandatory for anyone visiting an aged-care centre, while 60 per cent believe vaccinations should be compulsory for domestic travel.
Proof of vaccination is required to enter public establishments in countries such as France and Israel, but the polling showed Australians were more divided on these measures, with 50 per cent in support of vaccination as a condition of entry to hotels. For restaurants and cinemas, the level of support dropped to 45 per cent.
Associate Professor David Smith, from the Department of Government and International Relations at Sydney University, said the overwhelming public support for compulsory vaccinations on international travel meant such measures would carry little political risk.
“If the government were looking at vaccination mandates for certain activities, that would probably be the one that would involve the least risk of a political backlash,” he said.
The slightly lower support for mandatory vaccination for domestic travel shows many Australians view it in a different way, Associate Prof Smith
said. “A lot of people see the threat of the virus to some extent as an external one. Even though we are going through this wave of Delta … there is still a tendency to see coronavirus as a danger coming in from outside. I think Australians are used to the idea that you should be able to travel around the country without having internal passports.”
Bastion Insights chief executive Dianne Gardiner said Australians “feel interstate travel is more a right than a privilege, and therefore any mandatory requirement is impinging on their rights”.
“Contrasting this, travelling overseas is a privilege, so the requirement to do more to do so seems more acceptable,” she said.
Support for vaccination as a condition for domestic travel was stronger in metropolitan centres (65 per cent) than in regional areas (50 per cent), Ms Gardiner said.
The poll found 71 per cent of Australians believe it is everyone’s responsibility to be vaccinated to help protect others – again, stronger in metropolitan areas than rural – but a sizeable minority (39 per cent) said those who
choose not to vaccinated should not be penalised.
Just over half the respondents (54 per cent) said workplaces should be able to mandate vaccinations for their employees, but this figure was higher if the workplace in question was an aged-care facility (75 per cent support) or a hospital (74 per cent).
Two in three survey respondents (66 per cent) said schools should be able to mandate vaccination for teachers and 50 per cent said they should also be able to do the same for students.