Many UN bodies, including the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), call for member countries to vaccinate aircrew staff, considering them as essential workers.
Considered essential workers
In most countries worldwide, medical professionals were amongst the first to receive the vaccine, being key workers during the Coronavirus pandemic. Like Turkey, some countries have decided to prioritize hotel staff for the vaccine to regenerate their tourism industry. However, after medical staff, the list of vaccination priorities differs significantly from one country to another.
Generally speaking, most countries have prioritized essential workers for the vaccine, but some discord qualifies as an essential worker. Currently, most places are not considering pilots and aircrew staff as crucial, and therefore these people are not being prioritized for the vaccine. They will instead have to wait, for example, until the vaccination program is rolled out to people within their age group. UN bodies, such as ICAO, are unhappy with this and are pushing for aircrews to be vaccinated as essential workers.
The UN pushes to vaccine aircrew staff
Alongside the ICAO, the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) are pushing the initiative. Within the vaccination of aircrews, they intend to include all staff, from pilots to cabin crew and even seafarers. In a joint statement released on Friday, the ICAO, WHO, and IMO highlighted the vital role sea and air travel providers and the volume of people that depend upon them:
“They [aircrews, seafarers] are key workers required to travel across borders at all times, which may result in the need for them to present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for entry in some countries. We reiterate our call upon countries that have not done so to designate seafarers and aircrew as key workers.”
But, whilst these organizations are strongly encouraging countries to take up their advice and vaccinate their flight staff, they currently advise against making vaccines an entry condition for passengers. It seems the goal is solely to encourage as many countries as possible to vaccinate their aircrews, aiding and accelerating the aviation industry’s recovery, providing hope for many. However, as there is not much coordination between countries regarding the Coronavirus vaccine’s rollout, only time will tell whether any country takes the advice to treat aircrews as essential workers and vaccinate them.
Do you think aircrews should be treated as essential workers and prioritized for the vaccine? Would you feel safer knowing all of your flight crew were vaccinated? Could you share your thoughts with us below?