The government and private companies reeling from the effects of lockdowns are considering offering perks to persuade Australians to get the jab.
Qantas is looking to do its part, revealing it is considering offering frequent flyer points or travel vouchers to vaccinated travellers.
Chief Medical Officer Professor Paul Kelly said this week it was vital the government consider “as many incentives as we can” to beat complacency and vaccine hesitancy.
Mr Kelly said vaccine passports and the ability to travel abroad or interstate without restrictions had been “a matter of discussion for some time” and would again be discussed at National Cabinet.
America, where inoculations have soared, incentives have worked. The state of Ohio offered a special lottery that would give away a weekly $US1 million prize to vaccinated adults and full scholarships to vaccinated children, while other US states have offered $US100 saving bonds, free beers and free MetroCards for anyone who gets a shot at a New York subway vaccination site.
Qantas Chief Customer Officer Stephanie Tully made clear that Qantas’s motivations not just in public health, but in encouraging travel.
“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,” Ms Tully spoke.
“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.”
“We’re still thinking through how this would work, but the incentive could be Qantas points, Qantas or Jetstar flight vouchers, or status credits for frequent flyers.”
While no details are confirmed, it’s currently understood that up to 1000 frequent flyer points could be offered. A Sydney to Melbourne flight is generally 4,400 points plus $20 in taxes.
As of Friday, Australia has currently distributed 3.6 million vaccine doses, with just 473,000 people fully vaccinated. This represents just 1.9% of the population and is lagging well behind the UK and US.
Australia’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Kelly has called for vaccination incentives, commenting: “We really do need to look for incentives – as many incentives as we can – for people to become vaccinated.”
A Sydney Morning Herald survey revealed that more than 20% of Australia’s are ‘not at all likely’ to sign up for a vaccination and only 18% of those 55 plus consider themselves ‘extremely likely’ to take the vaccine.