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Emirates Begins Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Drive for Frontline Workers Including Cabin Crew, Pilots

Emirates Begins Mass COVID-19 Vaccination Drive for Frontline Workers Including Cabin Crew, Pilots

Emirates has started a mass COVID-19 vaccination drive for its “substantial” United Arab Emirates-based workforce using both the Pfizer / BioNTech vaccine and the Chinese manufactured Sinopharm candidate. Frontline aviation workers will be prioritised for the jabs including pilots, cabin crew and airport ground staff according to the airline group.

Emirates currently employs around 47,000 workers in the UAE alone, including more than 21,000 cabin crew, 4,300 pilots and 3,300 engineering staff according to its latest annual report. The jabs will also be made available to workers in other Emirates Group companies including ground handling company dnata and hospitality subsidiaries.

Only three airlines are now known to have started vaccinating younger frontline staff – Etihad Airways in neighbouring Abu Dhabi, Singapore Airlines and now Emirates. Most countries are reserving all available vaccine doses for high-risk elderly people with the notable exception of Indonesia that is targeting younger citizens first.

In November, it emerged that Etihad Airways had initially offered the Sinopharm vaccine to frontline workers as part of an emergency use approval while the jab was still undergoing Phase III clinical trials. The rollout has since picked up a pace and chief executive Tony Douglas publicly received the vaccine earlier this month.

Emirates said its vaccination drive only started on Monday morning but appointments will run 12-hours a day, seven days a week at various company locations across Dubai. On Monday, the Dubai government also made COVID-19 vaccines available to all citizens and residents over the age of 16.

“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 company said in a statement.

“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 around the world.”

According to Out World in Data, the UAE has administered the second most jabs per 100 people, beaten only by Israel which has vaccinated nearly 30 per cent of its adult population. The UAE has so far administered at least the first shot to 19 per cent of its population. In third place, Bahrain has only vaccinated 8 per cent of its population.

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