Emirates has begun offering vaccinations to its frontline crew and employees. The carrier will offer both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccines to tens of thousands of its UAE employees. With this program, Emirates will become one of the first airlines to vaccinate its staff, along with Singapore Airlines.
Emirates began rolling out two vaccines to its entire UAE workforce yesterday, including all ground handling staff from subsidiary dnata. The carrier will prioritize operational staff like flight attendants, pilots, and others who come into frequent contact with passengers. Following that, all other staff will have access to the vaccine as well.
The rollout is in partnership Dubai Health Authority and the Ministry of Health and Prevention, which have set up multiple facilities across the UAE. The facilities are open seven days a week and 12 hours daily to ensure as many staff can be vaccinated daily as possible. The vaccine will be free for all.
An Emirates spokesperson has confirmed that vaccinations will be options for all staff. However, the response and uptake of the vaccine has been high among employees. The rollout makes Emirates the largest airline aiming to vaccinate its entire staff as of today.
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Only a few
While the COVID-19 vaccine has been available since December in many countries, airlines have not had a chance to roll out the vaccines to their employees. Delays and low supply globally have slowed vaccination efforts, with most doses going to healthcare workers and those at high risk. However, there are two airlines that have drawn up plans for mass vaccinations.
Singapore confirmed yesterday that it would innoculate 37,000 frontline aviation workers, possibly making Singapore Airlines the first to vaccine its entire staff. The country hopes that vaccinations will allow Singapore to return to its status as a global passenger hub and increase traffic.
Emirates has already begun its vaccine rollout, making it the first airline to start the mammoth process. However, the carrier has over 100,000 employees, a vast majority of which reside in the UAE, making the process longer. The UAE is one of the few countries rolling out the vaccine to its entire adult population, with hopes to vaccinate 50% of the population by the first quarter of 2021, according to Reuters.
More to come
While only two airlines may have announced vaccination programs, we can expect many more in the coming months. Aviation workers, especially frontline staff like cabin crew and pilots, are at a very high risk of getting COVID-19, making them a priority in most countries. However, only a few dozen countries have begun rolling out vaccines to their population as of now.
Travel demand will likely pick up soon after vaccines are available globally, with airlines already seeing booking surges. However, it will be at least late summer before international travel restriction can slowly ease.
What do you think about Emirates’ vaccine plan? When will travel open up again? Let us know in the comments!