"Vaccination or quarantine" for all visitors to Australia

Get the jab or pay for a compulsory 14-day hotel quarantine stay...

By David Flynn, February 8 2021

Vaccination against COVID-19 is expected to be mandatory for all visitors to Australia when international travel resumes, unless inbound passengers are willing to pay for 14 days of quarantine at a hotel or other government-approved facility.

The 'vaccination or quarantine' choice was flagged over the weekend by Stuart Robert, Minister for Government Services, who added that the government was working to make sure its own vaccination certificates would be "widely accepted" by other countries.

"It's highly likely that a vaccination certificate or quarantine will still be required for international visitors to Australia," Roberts said during a press conference on Queensland's Gold Coast.

While not being drawn on a restart of international travel for Australians, Robert said "any requirement for borders to open up will require vaccination and it will require the widespread use of assured certificates."

"And we'll continue to work with our international counterparts on exactly how we have a framework for vaccination certificates. There's a range of applications now that are being looked at including IBM, Clear, CommonPass, through the international travel authorities."

"We’ll continue to work with them to get a framework. But importantly, for Australians, they can have assurance that the certificate they will have will be robust, it will be anchored to them, so they will know it's their certificate, and it will be widely accepted."

Robert also confirmed that the Australian Immunisation Register would be used to issue digital vaccination certificates through smartphone apps, starting with the the government's own MyGov and Express Plus Medicare apps.

"The capability is live now," he said. "We are ready now for the vaccine rollout."

Read more: Vaccination certificates coming to Apple Wallet, Google Wallet?

As previously reported, the new digital version of Australia's incoming passenger card for all inbound travellers could also include proof of COVID vaccination.

Speaking with 2GB's Ben Fordham this morning, Robert said the issue of airlines insisting on a compulsory 'no jab, no fly' policy for passengers – which Qantas CEO Alan Joyce has already flagged, citing widespread support by 87% of flyers surveyed – largely remained a matter for those airlines.

"Certainly international carriers are moving in this direction... this is where the airline travel associations have pulled together a concept called Common Pass. In terms of Australia, we're going to leave that to the Attorney-General who's in discussions as we speak."

"But it's happening internationally, so it's really important that we ensure that Australians have got proof of vaccination depending upon what the requirements are, especially overseas, where we have no jurisdiction of course."


David Flynn is the Editor-in-Chief of Executive Traveller and a bit of a travel tragic with a weakness for good coffee, shopping and lychee martinis.


19 Apr 2012

Total posts 1425

A good idea but there will be politics involved as to what jabs make tge cut. There will be some harrumphing about sinovac and Sputnik, but if they work then so be it, as they’re most common in the developing world.

21 Jul 2020

Total posts 7

I have the same concern especially if you want China to reciprocate. I know it's a choice not to go to China but many of us have businesses, family and friends there and need to go. Hopefully the majority of Aussie will be vaccinated sooner rather than later so that those less effective vaccines would be less of a problem. 

24 Aug 2011

Total posts 1201

Not only will a vaccination or quarantine be required for anyone entering Australia, it is likely most other countries will impose a similar limitation meaning it will be virtually impossible to go anywhere overseas without vaccination.  Let's get on it everybody and get our shots as soon as we can!!

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

28 Oct 2011

Total posts 469

Nothing surprising there. The PM made the same general comment - vaccination or quarantine - a couple of months ago.


09 May 2020

Total posts 562

Oxford Az can claim some limited data saying their vaccine reducing transmission in those who got the jab but not Pfizer or Moderna 

So what logic is it that vaccine can replace hotel quarantine (which is to reduce transmission), who knows what kind of advice were given to politicians 

Qantas - Qantas Frequent Flyer

11 Oct 2014

Total posts 685

We are so blessed in this country to have such absolute mental giants as Stuart Robert - Minister For Government Services? {NOT]

Refresh my memory please. Isn't this the same individual whose ample snout was in the trough for claiming a $2,600+ a month internet services bill over a period of 8 months or so?

I would seriously question such an individual's capacity to understand and legislate on the vagaries and finer points of medical issues as serious as Covid, quarantine, privacy and the like when said same individual has no understanding of a monthly internet bill.

Big mistake, Scotty from Marketing.

22 Sep 2017

Total posts 72

Unless a vaccine is invented which is extremely effective in preventing transmission, allowing vaccinated travellers into Australia without quarantine would risk introducing a chain of infection that may be difficult to control.

A significant proportion of the population cannot be vaccinated and would be at mortal risk, and of the rest, it's not acceptable to say that everyone needs to risk a mild infection, just for the convenience of some travellers.

The best use for the vaccines is to smash the virus worldwide.  Just vaccinating Australia won't be enough to throw the borders open again.

Jetstar Airways - Qantas Frequent Flyer

20 Apr 2016

Total posts 22

Once all those who want to be vaccinated are vaccinated in Australia and that may be as many as 85% according to latest data then borders should be open to vaccinated travellers. If you want to wait for over 8 Billion people to be vaccinated then you will be waiting years. The experts are saying that covid is here to stay just like flu. On the subject of flu we get this mostly in our winter from the northern hemisphere(basically travellers bringing it into Australia). this is why we get the current strain of flu vaccine from the northern hemisphere. What is not been expressed is that flu CAN and does kill. Check out WA deaths from flu in 2019 you will find it killed more people in WA than covid has to date . Even the poor efficacy of the Oxford vaccine protects against serious illness and death more so than the flu vaccine. We have to think of people who may want to hold their grandchildren for the first time or say goodbye to a terminal relative. So its not just the convenience of some travellers. Mental health should not be given such a low priority. I have not even mentioned the effects on overseas business. 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

02 Dec 2016

Total posts 47

Great news !

International travel is not too far away, and i can't wait to see the end of social distancing, mask wearing, sudden state border closures and hotel quarantines.

05 Oct 2017

Total posts 527

You'll probably find that mask wearing and social distancing are here to stay, for the foreseeable future, vaccine or not.

10 Aug 2020

Total posts 1

I have exited quarrantine and it’s a nightmare to mental health . I had covid in Dec then tested negative 5 times . So in effect I had the same anti bodies as what a vaccine might produce . But I still had to quarrantine for two weeks in Jan when I arrived even though I tested negative. Before I came back to Australia I was continually  exposed but as I had already had Covid I was no longer able to contract it again . So what I as being achieved by me being quarantined after having it then being exposed , then testing negative,  versus having had a vaccination? Bottom line is since being infected then testing negative multiple times ,  I should have been regarded as super low / zero risk . If the policy moving forward is going to be vaccine or quarrantine then surely same logic should apply to anyone recently  recovered that tests negative. Or is science / govt saying that the vaccines do a better job than your own immune system in producing antibodies if you have had the actual disease ( I highly doubt that’s the case as I didn’t contract covid a second time however no vaccine prevents transmission they only reduce impact of symptoms  ) . Now I’ve had it , been exposed since recovering and didn’t get infected again can someone please explain to me the benefits of me getting? 

Singapore Airlines - KrisFlyer

14 Jan 2014

Total posts 340

BentWal, I’m glad you haven’t caught it again and I’m the same. Got it very mildly in Jan 2020 and have tested negative every time since.  I’ve now also had my first vaccination. 

The thing is, I know a few people who have got it twice and even three times. It seems that not everybody’s immune system is up to the job of protecting them against Covid. THAT is the crux of the matter. Covid is a tricky customer and we can’t make assumptions that if someone has had Covid once, they are protected from getting it or worse spreading it again. Even the vaccines have no data yet about transmission post vaccination. It’s too early to figure that out yet (although I’m sure we will find out as more people are vaccinated). 

With all that in mind, I fear it’s going to be a long time before things get back to normal and anyone can be considered low risk.

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