Prioritising frontline workforce, global airlines begin inoculation

With mass Covid-19 vaccination programmes rolling out throughout the world, global airlines have started inoculation drives for their staffers. While Singapore Airlines began its vaccination program last week, Dubai-based Emirates started vaccinating its UAE-based employees on Monday. The airlines have been prioritising their frontline workforce such as cockpit and cabin crew, and other operationally focussed roles.

In a statement, the Emirates Group — which comprises both Emirates airlines and the airport service provider ‘dnata’ — said that it was making both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccines available for its employees across various company locations across the UAE. “The airline, along with dnata, are among the first transport and air services organisations in the world to offer employees the option to get vaccinated against the Covid virus. Over the course of the pandemic, Emirates and dnata have implemented multiple layers of safety measures, to ensure the health and safety of customers, employees and the communities served. The rollout of its vaccination programme is another step forward, helping to safeguard the health and wellbeing of aviation employees who serve the travelling public and help move essential goods,” it said.

Separately, at Singapore Airlines more than 5,200 employees have signed up to be vaccinated — representing about 50 per cent of those eligible for the vaccine, which is being offered for free to residents by the government on a voluntary basis, Reuters reported. As per the report, in a memo sent to employees Monday, Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Phong Choon noted: “Vaccinations are widely expected to be the game-changer in facilitating the opening of borders once again…This will also be an important differentiator in the airline industry…I strongly urge everyone who is eligible to get vaccinated as soon as possible”.

Further, speaking to aviation workers at a vaccination drive at Singapore airport on Monday, the city-state’s Transport Minister One Ye Kung said: “SIA (Singapore Airlines) can be the first vaccinated international airline of the world. Try to get that done,” Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung told aviation workers at a vaccination drive at the airport on Monday.

Even though airlines and other transport industries in India are reported to have approached the government to have their frontline employees inoculated, the focus on providing Covid-19 vaccine shots is currently being put on healthcare workers, police staff and other frontline government workers. —With Reuters

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