Travel | January 11, 2021 1:51 pm

World Travel and Tourism Council Calls Vaccine Requirements “Discriminatory”

"We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel."

Covid vaccine
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Gloria Guevara, Head of the World Travel and Tourism Council, came out swinging against the call for vaccinations as a prerequisite to international travel at a Reuters Next conference panel on Monday, deeming such a measure “discriminatory.”

“We should never require the vaccination to get a job or to travel,” Guevara said, linking her argument to workplace discrimination. Guevara’s comments come off the back of industry heads and policymakers suggesting that it be made mandatory for all individuals to be immunized prior to travel — a sentiment that’s been widely shared, with the idea of “Vaccine Passports” tossed around by many.

For others, though, the reality of the vaccine deployment and its inefficiencies means that it won’t be readily available for months or possibly even for the remainder of the year. According to virtual estimates, healthy non-essential workers may find themselves somewhere around 4 millionth in line to receive the vaccine in their state. That doesn’t bode well for anyone with future travel plans and no vaccination date, despite how necessary that travel may be.

Nevertheless, some airlines, like Qantas, are already rumored to be moving forward with the vaccine requirement.

“I totally disagree with the approach from Qantas. If you require the vaccination before travel, that takes us to discrimination,” Guevara said in the panel, stating that supermarkets are currently a bigger risk than planes where COVID-19 is involved.

In a tweet from Guevara’s personal account on Sunday, she makes mention of testing before flying, saying it’s something WTTC has been pushing governments for since April. As it stands now, almost all countries require — at minimum — a negative PCR test prior to entry followed by a predetermined quarantine period. None have yet to announce affirmative plans to expand those requirements to include the vaccine, though AirAsia Group’s CEO Tony Fernandes — who voiced support for Guevara in the panel — expressed that Asian States may be among the first.