Why doesn't Australia vaccinate travellers returning home?

So it seems like the country is in a bit of a pickle at the moment with this Delta variant.

Anyway there are apparently 35,000 people who want to come home and these are the main risk of the cat getting out of the bag.

Why doesn't Australia go out of its way to give all of them (aged 18+) the Pfizer vaccine (most effective, short intervals between doses) before they come home?

Australia is injecting over 700,000 vaccines a week now, so vaccinating 35,000 (70,000 doses) is not overly costly when you think about how costly lockdowns that result from infected travellers are, I'd say it's a bargain.

I will add in a poll to see what y'all think

Poll Options expired

  • 142
    Australians returning home should be prioritised for vaccination before setting foot on a plane.
  • 186
    Australia should not prioritise returned travellers for a vaccine.


    • The percentages quoted are now often "fully vaccinated" because that unfortunately is a better headline to attract readers. Since AZ is the largest vaccine used up to now, its only just getting second dose time. (I had mine last week), so we should see the numbers rise much faster.

    • +1

      Most of those doses are coming from the Western suburbs of various cities.

    • According to the Fairfax sites:
      3.38% of the population have been fully vaccinated (867,521)
      25.82% have had a first dose (6,633,179)

    • https://ourworldindata.org/covid-vaccinations

      Seems to be reasonably up to date data there.

      Current figures -


    • +1

      It's almost like some of the things in the media aren't true

    • +12

      170 cases in just the last week isn't 1 case.

  • +1

    If it was as easy as thinking, every single person in this world would have been vaccinated by now. There are different factors that op seems not to be aware. The supply around the world is quite low and USA is one of the worst hoarder so far as they got an oversupply that often go to waste due to non compliance with storage advice. Then, you have to take in consideration how many people are really willing to be vaccinated . Right now, the pfizer and astra zeneca have been available to quite some people but you can't really say that people are rushing through the door to get it. And, then, where will people will get vaccinate overseas?! At the embassy? At the consulate?! Some places in the world are covid ravage , so i doubt anyone will be willing to open the doors just to wait for some willing aussies to walk through the door to get a jab … the best way for people to be able to come back here will be as singapore suggest. Vaccinate the whole population in the country and treat covid as another flu type that will stay and never really go away every year…

    • Agree the logistics and other challenges would be tough, but I think that Australia would benefit from trying to overcome them. The lockdowns are costing billions. So if we can avoid most lockdowns that is worth billions. If it is worth billions it justifies resources to overcome the challenges.

      Australia is now getting 600,000 doses of Pfizer a week, so it is a question of priorities in terms of supply. Let's say 30,000 of the 35,000 Australians wanting to get back in are adults then it would take 60,000 doses to fully vaccinate them. That's 10% of 1 weeks supply.

      Why should returned travellers be prioritised if they're not old etc..? Because in the short term they're the main thing others need to be vaccinated against.

      • And where do you send these vaccines?!! Australian that is in other country van het access anytime to a vaccine as long as they are willing to have it bit they don't . Government in many country don't charge for vaccinating the population . You seem to focus on number withput really understanding what s going on behind the scene… it s not a question of how many fose is available but where? How? Who?

        • +5

          Just like watching Hollywood war movies. Many believe that Troops go in shoot up enemy, end of war.

          Reality, is before troops go in, someone has to get them there, feed them, set up bog huts, put on power for tents, arrange for ammunition to get there. More people are employed in the army for support that ever in field to fight.

          Napoleon around 200 years ago, recognised that the one who feeds their troops is the one who wins the battles.

          Vaccinating a nation or the world isnt just someone sticking in a needle and bingo its done.

    • Yep only 7.6 Billion people to be vaccinated.

    • A bit like Biden saying: Once I rule the world, nobody will be paying less than 21% tax, except myself!!!

  • +3

    Many people wanting to come home have been vaccinated (especially in the US and UK), but are still subject to the caps for how many people can enter each day and need to hotel quarantine.

    The issues around getting enough people vaccinated are:
    a) availability of stock (for Pfizer and Moderna), i.e. competing with other countries to buy it
    b) logistics (staffing, distribution) of getting through the volumes of people to be vaccinated

    These issues don't change overseas - if anything it would be harder.

  • +1
    1. Those waiting to come home aren't all in 1 country.

    2. Shortest vaccine gap is Pfizer, still need 2 shots 3 weeks apart. It takes some time, say 4 weeks for your body to be fully immune. So in total, we are talking about 2 months.

    3. There are still many people leaving the country today, vaccine or not, they will want to come home sometime in the future. So the number is just a moving target.

      1. So why is it not a requirement to be fully vaccinated before leaving the country?
        Would this not help with progressively reducing the number of returnees who are not vaccinated?
      • -1

        Because, under the Geneva Convention, no one can be forced to be vaccinated.

        • Lol… What?

          The Geneva Convention only applies in times of armed conflict. The rules are intended to apply to war criminals and prisoners of war.

          I don't believe in forcing people to get vaccinated but the Geneva Convention has absolutely nothing to do with it.

          • -1

            @Team America: It comes under medical experimentation. The vaccine is experimental.

  • +2

    Getting the vaccine doesnt stop you getting the virus or spreading in the virus, it just makes you lessl ikely to die from the virus - i think it would make sense 4 everyone 2 get the vaccine at some stage but the vaccine wont get rid of COVID in the short term in the long time elimination we hope is possible

    • It stops you getting the disease and spreading the virus to a great extent, look at Israel with one of the world's highest vaccination rates. Hardly any virus spreading or deaths there despite virtually no restrictions. Initially it was a big problem for them.

      • +1

        Hey look it makes sense to vaccinate before you return but im just saying it should be an addition to quarantine not a replacement - i probably didnt make that clear

        • +1

          Fair enough, agree.

      • Israel is currently experiencing an increase in cases of the virus.

      • They don't vaccinate Palestinians (Christians or Muslims) the "first nations people".

        Bibi Netanyanhu is the first Israeli leader born in Israel.

        In other words immigrants get vaccinated first.

        • Jews are the First Nations people. Your ignorance is unattractive.

          • -1

            @iCandy: Read your history. There were practically no Jews left for centuries. The Romans massacred them.They emigrated and slot into two Askenazi (from Germany) and Sephadi (Spain and to the East)
            Then centuries later in 1890 the Zionist movement was formed by the father of organic chemistry and Hebrew was resurrected bit by bit from history.
            The British at that time sided with the Palestinians read Lawrence of Arabia but the British police were murdered (bombing of King David Hotel - the HQ of British Forces).
            Then after WW2 the first ship carrying immigrants from Europe illegally from British point of view (Hollywood made "Exodus") landed.
            The Irgun and Stern gang killed British soldiers. Britain offered British North Borneo to the Jews who rejected it. Britain gave up and fixed a date to withdraw. Britain had resurrections in Malaya, Kenya and Cyprus. On that date The Arab countries invaded and faced self defence Haganah which beat them back. The Haganah later changed to the into the Labour Party a moderate movement.
            The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem stupidly told the Palestinians to leave the Jewish held areas. Some did not and are now Israeli Palestinians (small number)
            Then came the mass immigration of Russians, they only need one grandparent to be linked to Jews. Many were not because after the war, Russians were starving. They supported the Irgun which is now the government.
            The Arabs cannot fight and they changed sides when they lose eg Eygpt UAE etc. The only one to stand firm is Qatar.
            The original people were not Jews who migrated from the North. They are now called Palestinians., Dont believe the bible old testament.

            • @greywise: Wrong. Palestinians are the intruders and have no right to Jewish land. It’s odd how most muslims dislike “Palestinians”.

              I believe the Old Testament of the Bible.

              • @iCandy: "It’s odd how most muslims dislike Palestinians”.
                Prove it. A number of my friends are Muslims and all support ther Palestinians

                "I believe the Old Testament of the Bible."
                I will not dispute it, each to his own belief.

                Genetically, Palestinians and Jews are the same.
                Just as the Turks were originally Oriental looking. Many Turks were Greeks before.
                Constantinople ? Now Istanbul

                Just learn history and be knowledgeable.

                • @greywise: Go on any online forum and ask non-Palestinian muslims what they think of Palestinians. You’re in for a BIG surprise.

  • +5

    My question is how come this 35,000 number seeking to return home never changes?
    It's been that amount for months yet we've been bringing back about 5000/week yet never seems to make a dent.

    • -1

      The government gives so many exemptions now for people to leave. Those people then join the return list.
      Steven Miles, Annastupids QLD deputy premier claims half of the arrival quotas are overseas citizens the federal gov issues exemptions to. Not that he is a reliable source of information but there must be some truth in that contributing to the problem.

    • People are still able to go overseas with an exemption, or they are dual citizens and exit on their foreign passport. Source: I know people that have done this.

      Then sht kicks off in the place they went and they urgently want to come 'home'.

  • If you are scared, stay at home. Don't tell me how I can live my life.

    • +17

      Didn't you just explicitly tell other people how to live their life?

    • +1

      ok big man lets see you out there without a mask near one of the test clinics in a suburb with high infection rate

    • +11

      Well to put this into perspective for you…. My mom spent the last month in hospital in Canada and died of cancer. She was supposed to pull through but quickly went downhill. I wasn’t able to see her as the timing for flights and quarantine made it impossible. My final words were over the phone and two hours later she was gone. Now Canada is allowing citizens who are fully vaccinated to travel around the country like life is normal. They are dealing with it. Call it being adults. I’m still hesitant to go and bury her because it could be months before I’m even able to come back to Australia. It isn’t feasible for me to leave my businesses and family here for a long period of time. FWIW I have both Australian and Canadian passports. So no it isn’t about being selfish…. I really hope nothing happens to any of your family while being stuck on prisoner island because it is absolutely horrible.

      • Just went throught similar with wife. She went back home (EU) to bury her father and help settle his affairs, then (somehow) managed to get back on her original booked flight (economy out, business return). I'm taking care of junior.

        Based on that I'd say go for it, if you can get an exemption.

        • Thanks mate. I’m getting my first dose next week and will review my position when I’m fully vaccinated. Waiting for flights to open up in Canada so I can hopefully fly direct then.

          • @Third_Gear: If you can't go direct, I have heard of plenty of people using NZ as a stepping stone (loophole).

  • +4

    Incompetence. Just like the fact they don't follow up to test these people 2 weeks after being out of hotel quarantine to make sure they haven't caught it while in hotel quarantine.

    On a serious note. It is called freedom. People in quarantine can't even be forced to take a COVID test. They have the freedom to leave the country (yes, people can get exemptions to leave. The recent single case in VIctoria caught in SA hotel quarantine that blew up into state wide lock down was a case of exemption to go to home of Delta variant to get married).

    We are in a pickle. Only a matter of time below things get out of hand. Look at northern hemisphere winter that just went by. We can have a lock down with a lot less cases.

  • +2

    The reason why we're in a pickle is because the federal government has taken charge of a rollout that should be state run.
    Basically the opposite of what the quarantine debacle was.

    Now the finger pointing and character assassination is going on and the Australian people are the losers.

    What gains we'd had from locking down early are quickly being eroded away.

  • +4

    You can't lawfully make someone have a vaccine to return to their home country. That's why.

    • They at one point stopped flights from India. If they can stop flights all together, they can put up a condition. Other conditions they currently use - getting a test beforehand, hotel quarantine

    • of course they can, in a pandemic the rules change. Even the open border international laws have an exception for national health concerns. So yes they can lawfully put conditions on their return.

    • If they are able to mandate a curfew, why wouldn't mandate that?

  • +4

    I have no sympathy for those overseaa. You made your bed.

    • +4

      You have no sympathy for, eg, a family that decided to move overseas then lost their jobs due to the pandemic and have been unable to return home through no fault of their own? Wow, what a callous human being you are.

      • +1

        If they moved overseas then they are already home. plenty of sympathy for them, but it was a choice.

        • -2

          Your comment sums up the selfishness of Australian society perfectly..

  • -1

    Everyone has a price (to get the vaccine).

    Even anti-vaxxers have a price, rightly or wrongly.

    The government need to now give people the incentive to go get it OR at least inspire them to go get it.

    And those reasons must be specific and personal to that person.

    • Could go all Tyler Durden on them?

    • They have more people wanting the vaccine than they have vaccine. Demand > supply.

      There is not reason to increase incentive at this time. Not dying and not killing your loved ones with Covid is currently plenty.

    • +1

      What do you mean 'The government need to now give people the incentive to go get it'

      The radio, celebrities, politicians, news and Karens are telling us all 100x a day to go get jabbed…?

      Plus KK will give you a free donut etc?

  • -1

    No entry to Australia should be possible without full vaccination first. It is crazy to wreck the economy and lives of millions of Australians so that a few thousand can return home.

    The current quarantine arrangements have failed and should be abandoned. They don't work with the Delta variant.

    If returning Australians are fully vaccinated they are unlikely to become seriously ill if they contract covid-19. This removes the necessity of having those facilities in our capital cities.

    • +3

      You can't do that, many places where Australians are stuck it isn't possible to get a vaccination or isn't easy, and you'd have to risk getting infected to go get one anyway.

    • +1

      That's assuming you believe what you hear on the TV re: the 'delta' variant

      BTW - has the this 'new variant' hit China? If not, why not?

  • +3

    Why would they even need the vaccine? Getting a negative covid test and quarantining isn't enough?

    • +4

      Many of the escapes from quarantine have been from people catching the disease in quarantine.

      You need a bit of time between catching it and being positive on a test (or showing symptoms). So if people catch it late in their quarantine period they can get out and start spreading.

      If people were vaccinated they'd have less chance of catching it in quarantine, and if they did, they would spread it less once in the community.

      • +2

        Sounds like being in quarantine is the issue. Many people getting tested now and don't have to quarantine themselves if it's negative after being to an exposure site.

    • In theory you'd think so, in practice virus has escaped time and time again.

  • +6

    I personally think they should be able to get the jab as soon as they arrive in quarantine - if they're already infected it will reduce the severity and the amount of time they are sick, and if they are exposed while in quarantine it could make the difference between them getting infected or not. And if they are unluckily infected then they will spread it less.

    It is too difficult to mandate anything before they arrive, each country has unique conditions which could make it difficult, dangerous or impossible to get a jab and Australians should always be able to return home.

    • +2

      I don’t think that’s how vaccine works. Vaccination is injecting virus, or part of, into your body to train the immune system. If you are infected, really no point injecting more in.

      Australians should always be able to return home. But the Australians coming home have home somewhere else. Many of them decided to go overseas when the government advised otherwise. People have the freedom to make decision, and it’s ok. People choose to smoke. People choose not to take vaccine. People choose maccas. People have to own their decision. When they decided to leave Australia for whatever reason, they need to man up and take the responsibility.

      The media kept advertising how many people are stranded overseas, but they never tell when did those people left Australia in the first place. Media just abuse Australian’s empathy.

      How many businesses are ruined, and how many people’s livelihood are affected by those who decided to go overseas to get married in the middle of the pandemic, and brought the virus back into this otherwise well protected community. That’s selfish and not very Australian imho.

      • +3

        Vaccination is injecting virus, or part of, into your body to train the immune system

        Please read up on how the various vaccines work - none of them use live virus. There are diseases whose vaccinations work that way but not covid19.

        It would also be good to practice a little empathy. Sure, there are people like the OP of a recent thread who put off coming back when the government warned everyone to come home because he wanted to find some cheap workers. But for every one of those, there is a family who couldn't find a flight with enough seats in time, or someone whose flights kept getting cancelled, or someone who didn't physically have enough money to pay for the blown out ticket prices and is couch surfing waiting for help from the Australian embassy which never comes, or who ended their lease in the country they were living in and quit their job only to be faced with cancelled tickets and having to live in hotels and seeing their bank account dwindle and ticket prices rise along with cancellations continually occurring.

        It isn't all as black and white as they chose to leave against government guidelines or chose not to come back when they could. Some people might deserve what they get but there are plenty of people who don't.

  • +3

    Is there a bloody reason still even after 1 year + for some returning Australian resident (who plans to live here) to be stuck overseas and demanding to come back ?? Why it took so long??

    I think Government should simply have a ban on flights coming into Australia UNLESS they are fully vaccinated for COVID19 like at least 15 days BEFORE Plane's departure date AT THEIR OWN COST.

  • +1

    I got vaccinated and now I'm magnetic

    • +1

      That's attractive.

  • +1

    These tits have had how long now to get home? Why didn't they come home when they were told to.

    • +7

      It's easier to say than done. Some people have been living overseas for years with jobs and such, looking after family members and many more other scenarios which we are not aware of. It's not like they went there for sight seeing and decided to not come back.

      Also there are thousands and thousands of Australian stuck overseas, it would have been virtually impossible for all of them to return at the same time as there wouldn't have been enough commercial flights and DFAT operated flights.

      The other day I saw a post on Facebook about someone witnessing his/her father passing away over video call while he/she is in hotel quarantine.

      I can go on and on…. but yeah in brief it's not as we easy as we think. I think most of in Australian are not aware of the situation because there are not enough media coverage.

      • -3

        They've had a year. It would have been simpler for everyone had they come back when asked. They are selfish pricks.

        • +5

          Again not as easy to come back due to hotel cap applied by all the states. There are limited flights. People are constantly getting bumped off flight because of the cap. Tickets are very expensive, economy class ticket can be as expensive as business class and yet still it's not guaranteed they will get to board the flight. Some even had their final leg of their flight cancelled due to hotel cap and they had to be stuck in transit country. There are people burning through their savings to get back to Australian and this is not recent. I suggest you do some research with coming to any conclusion.

          • -3

            @Anonymous101: Oh cry me a river. The government provided ample notice to Australians abroad. Nonsense you're referring to problems from months ago.

            • +2

              @Dont Care: If you only want to hear one side of the story and stick to it , I have nothing to say to you :)

              Peace out

              • -3

                @Anonymous101: Ok go get your facts straight snowflake.

                • +4

                  @Dont Care: There were hundreds of thousands of Australians overseas and the government gave them about a weeks notice to get home. There were not physically enough planes flying to get them all home. Thousands have been trying since March last year to get home but have had obstacles constantly springing up with every attempt.

                • +5

                  @Dont Care: Happy to be snowflake than ignorant and arrogant.

            • +1

              @Dont Care: You have no clue….best keep your trap shut your looking like a complete fool.

        • Citizens overseas were told to stay there if it was safe and possible for them to. Now those people have been away from their families for over a year and need to come home. They should be given priority in my opinion. As for those who leave the country because their relatives are sick and/or dying, so are a lot of people’s relatives here in Australia but we are not allowed to visit them. I agree you should be able to leave to see sick and/or dying relatives but you should then go to the end of the queue.

    • +1

      Could you be any more of a 'tit' yourself?

      To give just one common example, there have been thousands of Australians that have travelled overseas to care for or see a dying relative and are now unable to return home due to the flight caps.

      • There are plenty of other people who would love to go overseas - for whatever reason but they are unable to. Here is a typical story - indians who left and now lean on citizenship to get back in because well it's a cluster fudge in india - risking Australians at home by doing so.

        https://www.abc.net.au/news/2021-06-30/the-people-still-wait... Go back under your sheet snowflake.

      • +2

        There are thousands of Australians who have not been allowed to care for or see a dying relative here in Australia.

  • +1

    Vaccination doesn't stop someone catching coronavirus and becoming a spreader. Instead it greatly prevents the infected person developing COVID, clogging up the hospital system, and possibly having long term side effects that are still not clearly understood. That's before we get to the fact that it takes several weeks for a vaccination to become effective, so even if we could vaccinate all Australians returning home now, they'd have to stay overseas until August at the earliest.

    In other words, vaccination people before they return wouldn't work.

    • By that same broken logic nothing works so we should do nothing.

    • It doesn't stop them becoming infected but it reduces the likelihood and reduces the amount of virus they shed if they do become infected (they spread it less).

      Not saying making it mandatory to have the vaccine before coming home is a good idea though.

  • At some stage the government has to open up, the states will be overridden from the current nanny state lockdowns & the population, near and far, allowed to circulate again.

    When that’s about to happen I’ll look at what vaxx is on offer in the hope more R&D has got us a better option and it’s safer. I’m in NO rush to get vaxx as long as we have track’n trace with shut downs!

    The safety tests on current offerings won’t all be published until late 2022 and sad to say, heart, brain & reproduction problems exist with the current offerings

  • Time to book a cruise!

  • +4

    How many of the 35000 who want to come home now:
    a) travelled out of Australia since March 2020 (when the borders were supposedly shut)? My guess is most of them - no sympathy at all, since they should never have left
    b) have been away since before March 2020? Again, no sympathy at all, as they ignored government warnings in March 2020 to return home immediately.

    Honestly, how can there be sympathy for such stupid people? They either didn't come home when they should, or left knowing the borders were shut. Frankly, how dare they complain or expect the government to raise a finger to help now.

    In fact, they should be encouraged to stop wasting oxygen.

    • +3

      No sympathy for a person who travelled to care for a dying relative and is now unable to return home?

      I'd much rather you 'stop wasting oxygen' than them. They are far more humane that you are.

      • +2

        IMO they should be allowed to leave for that purpose, but then they should go to the end of the queue. Plenty of Aussies haven’t been allowed to care for a dying relative here in Australia.

        • I've read so many articles about how tough 3 day lockdowns are on the local population, people being reunited after not seeing family for months. Weddings cancelled, etc. I wonder if anyone ever thinks about those that have not seen family abroad for over a year, seen family members die, significant family milestones missed, and for international students and temporary residents - on top of that no help here in Australia whilst residents hoard savings (in many but not all cases I admit) from all the govt help. I guess it's their punishment for choosing to come to Australia (and for all the contributions that migrants make to the Australian society and economy)..I just don't understand how a country can be so selfish and discompassionate. I thought it was because the govt was out of touch with citizens and the true Aussie spirit of helping those when they are down but seems that it is me that is out of touch..

          • @alUK234: Everyone should be treated the same. Your virtue-signalling is nauseating.

            • @iCandy: But you don't treat everyone the same. Why don't we only open international borders when we open State ones? See if everyone likea being the same? Also - why did students and other residents get no help whilst citizens did. Other countries did actually treat everyone the same..not single out those that pay taxes, contribute but happen to have a different nationality. I raise these points because I think Australia should be better than this. It is a rich country that pretends it's too small to play a responsible role in the world. Whether climate change or COVID - same story.

              • @alUK234: You have some entitlement there. Students were told to go home. To be a student in Australia, you must prove you can financially sustain yourself here. I’m guessing a lot of students fudged those numbers. I think (happy to be corrected) residents were looked after eventually with payments.

  • +3

    The real question should be asked is would Australia govt allow thier own citizens who are vaccinated overseas to Aus with out quota ? Right now it does not matter whether you are vaccinated or not.

    I was appaled by the general sentiment about the stuck australians overseas on trashy tabloid type news channels social media comments. But never thought some ozbargainers would have same understanding.

    Please read ,how many australians stuck overseas since a year and devided by how many people are allowed each month . ( Along with sports and rich people who uses this caps at ther whelm) then you would undrestand why people are still stuck overseas instead of living your own juddgement of others.

  • +1

    My IMO is that most people still trying to get home are entitled pr&cks who still think they should be able to hope on a flight and do whatever they want when they want

  • You're asking the wrong question, OP.

    Many Australians stranded overseas are already vaccinated because foreign governments have been far better at vaccinating people than the Australian government. We're dead last in the OECD for vaccinations.

    The question you should be asking is: why are we not implementing home quarantine for vaccinated persons returning from low risk countries?

    This is exactly what the Victorian Hotel Quarantine Inquiry recommended last year: https://content.royalcommission.vic.gov.au/sites/default/fil...

    The common response is: we can't trust returned travellers to quarantine at home.

    This response is nonsense for the following reasons:
    1. We trust people to quarantine at home when they are exposed to COVID-19 in Australia already. There are no reports of these people breaching home quarantine.
    2. Most of the cases of people not complying with home quarantine last year were as a result of mistaken directions given by government officials.
    3. We could easily ask people to wear trackers.
    4. We are talking about people who are vaccinated and from low risk countries. They have a greater risk of getting COVID-19 in hotel quarantine than spreading it! Eg the Queensland miner that sparked the NT outbreak caught COVID-19 in hotel quarantine. As did the person who sparked the most recent Melbourne lockdown.

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