Vaccine delays could hinder return of international students

Universities across Australia are hopeful that delays in the rollout of Covid-19 vaccines will not further restrict the intake of international students in the country.

Barney Glover, the Western Sydney University vice-chancellor, indicated that he hoped that a delay in vaccine rollout would not affect the $40 billion a year international education industry. Glover continued by saying that he hoped that the challenges around vaccine program in the Australia would not affect a modest trial of students slowly returning to the school.

Vaccine delays

He indicated that measures such as students being tested before departure and during quarantine, including full quarantines that would follow strict arrangements that apply to NSW hotel quarantine.

His sentiments were echoed by Phil Honeywood, the chief executive officer of ‎International Education Association of Australia, who said that there was no way the $40 billion industry would withstand a third year academic year due to restrctions imposed. Honeywood proposed that vaccine passports be issued to international students stranded in their home countries, so that they can be able to travel to Australia and continue with their learning.

The federal government is already reaching out to concerned party trying to get the full picture of how the vaccine rollout will impact international travel and school return. 

Federal Education Minister, in a statement, indicated that these steps would help the government evaluate when would be the perfect time for international students to return. 

The Prime Minister also expressed optimism, indicating that by the end of the year, he hoped that a majority of Australians would be immunized despite the current delays in vaccine rollout.