Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience…
It has emerged that some cabin crew working for Abu Dhabi-based Etihad Airways have already received a Chinese-made COVID-19 vaccine which is currently in Phase III trials in several countries including the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The vaccine received emergency use approval in early September, some six weeks after human trials of the vaccine started.
The Sinopharm vaccine was developed in partnership with the Abu Dhabi artificial intelligence company Group 42. It uses an inactivated virus to generate an immune response to the novel Coronavirus and has been given to around 31,000 in the UAE, Egypt, Bahrain and Jordan as part of Phase III trials.
In September, the UAE’s National Emergency Crisis and Disaster Management Authority announced that the vaccine had received emergency use approval even as human trials continued. Officials said emergency use would make the vaccine available to “first line of defense heroes who are at the highest risk of contracting the virus”.
It has now been revealed that some of the frontline workers to have received the vaccine include Etihad Airways cabin crew. Rochelle Crossley, a member of Etihad’s cabin crew team told Australia’s Channel Nine News that she received the vaccine once it was rolled out to frontline workers.
“The fear of getting the virus outweighed the fear of having the vaccination,” she said of her experience.
“Everyone has different side effects but mainly a sore arm. I had a bit of a cough after the first vaccine but the second one I didn’t have anything.”
The Sinopharm vaccine is delivered in two doses. Mild and expected side effects have been reported from the ongoing trials but no serious side effects have been revealed.
Crossley recently travelled back to Australia and presented health officials with vaccination paperwork. At first, Crossley says she wasn’t taken seriously and was put into a quarantined hotel to complete the mandatory 14-day stint. She has since been allowed to complete quarantine at home with her family.
Participants taking part in one of several large-scale Phase III clinical trials for COVID-19 vaccines would not receive vaccination paperwork because there is a 50/50 chance that they were given a placebo.
Yesterday, Sinopharm said results from the trial have so far “been better than expected” without revealing any further details. On Monday, American pharmaceutical giant Pfizer announced its COVID-19 vaccine candidate produced in partnership with German biotech company Biontech was more than 90 per cent effective.
It’s not known how many Etihad Airways cabin crew have so far received the vaccine or whether there is a plan to vaccinate the entire cabin crew population. Research from other airlines has concluded that the rate of COVID-19 infection amongst cabin crew is significantly lower than the general population.
The prime minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum received the same vaccine earlier this month.
Etihad has been contacted for comment.
Mateusz Maszczynski is a serving international flight attendant with experience at a major Middle East and European airline. Mateusz is passionate about the aviation industry and helping aspiring flight attendants achieve their dreams. Cabin crew recruitment can be tough, ultra-competitive and just a little bit confusing - Mateusz has been there and done that. He's got the low down on what really works.