Civil aviation ministry bats for coronavirus vaccines for aviation staff

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Airline and airport staff in India, too, could get vaccinated on priority like their counterparts in Dubai and Singapore.

While the Karnataka government has already included airport employees in the state in the list of frontline workers for Covid-19 vaccination, the civil aviation ministry has also initiated steps in this regard.

"The civil aviation ministry has written to the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare to add in the guidelines and issue directions to the concerned," a senior official said.

Airline and airport staff who are having interface with passengers & handling cargo would be given the priority.

Currently, doctors, nurses, and all hospital staff are being administered the Covid-19 vaccines across India. Over a million doses have already been given in the first week of vaccination.

Railway employees including station masters, engine drivers, ticket checkers, etc too have been selected for vaccination and their list is being compiled for the exercise.

Industry bodies have asked the government to vaccinate aviation staff on priority basis.

"The staff members working at the Indian airports have been frontline warriors for the nation, starting from the early days of the pandemic in January 2020 when screening measures were first implemented for arriving international passengers. The staff at airports across the country continued to discharge their duties through the pandemic, even as they faced dual risks of infection and social ostracism given the panic in the broader society during the time," Association of Private Airport Operators secretary-general Satyan Nair wrote in a letter to the health ministry. 

Air Passengers Association of India too had called for the inclusion of cabin crew in the list of frontline workers for Covid-19 vaccination.

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