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Published on Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Call for UK-based airline crew to be given vaccine priority


EasyJet says cabin crew should be included in the next phase of the Covid vaccine rollout.

The call comes as Dubai-based Emirates and Singapore Airlines begin a mass vaccination programme of all of their frontline crew.

UK vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi told Sky News that while groups will continue to be prioritised 'based predominantly on age and vulnerability' to Covid-19, the second phase of the rollout could see the vaccine given to those who are most likely to come into contact with the virus at work.

"My very strong instinct is that those who through their work may come into contact disproportionately with the virus, police, shop workers, teachers... should be prioritised," he told Sky News.

Millions of people aged 70 and over and those clinically extremely vulnerable to Covid-19 were invited to get their vaccines yesterday as the NHS extended its mass vaccination programme to the next two priority groups.

It is not known when the working population in the UK will be vaccinated, but Health Secretary Matt Hancock has said previously that everyone over the age of 18 should be offered the vaccine by the autumn.

An easyJet spokesman said there was a case for UK airline crew to have 'some priority' in the next phase of the vaccine roll out.

"For those working in the operation we continue to have a number of measures in place for crew and customers which we continue to review in line with regulatory requirements and the latest scientific advice," he said.

"For our office-based staff the majority of our people continue to work from home currently and so we will continue to follow the relevant government guidance.

"On crew vaccines we think there is a case for airline crew to have some priority in the next phase of the vaccine roll out."

British Airways and Jet2 both declined to comment on vaccines.

Singapore has set up two large vaccination centres, including one at Changi Airport to vaccinate about 7,000 aviation workers.

And the Emirates group yesterday announced that it would run a 12 hours a day, seven days a week operation to vaccinate staff at its offices across the United Arab Emirates.

The Emirates Group is making both the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccines, which have been approved by the UAE health authorities, accessible to its employees.

"Like all citizens and residents, Emirates Group employees in the UAE can also opt to get vaccinated at government designated medical centres and clinics, as the UAE's leadership and health authorities have spared no effort to make vaccines free and accessible to the population," it said.


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