Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways vaccinates entire flight crew

75 per cent of its wider non-flight workforce have also received at least one dose

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Etihad Airways said all of its thousands of pilots and cabin crew have now been vaccinated against Covid-19.

It said it was the first airline to hit the target.

Etihad was part of the UAE's Emergency Use Programme, in which hundreds of frontline staff were vaccinated as a priority by the health authorities.

The airline later secured approval for its in-house medical centre to become an accredited vaccination clinic.

We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of Covid-19 but to make travellers feel confident

“We proactively made the vaccine available to all our employees to not only help combat the effects of Covid-19 but to make travellers feel confident and reassured the next time they fly with us,” said its group chief executive, Tony Douglas.

“We are the only airline in the world to make Covid-19 testing mandatory for every passenger and crew member before every flight and now, we’re the first airline in the world with 100 per cent-vaccinated crew on board.”

Staff can now also receive the shot at mobile clinics at their workplace, and over 75 per cent of Etihad’s wider workforce have received at least one dose.

Dr Nadia Bastaki, vice president of medical services and corporate social responsibility, said the aim was to provide easy access to inoculation for its staff.

“Since December 2020, we have been offering in-house vaccination appointments to our employees and their loved ones to ensure we are focused on our employees’ wellbeing,” she said.

Country-wide vaccination rates

Governments globally are prioritising frontline staff in their vaccination programmes.

Dubai’s Emirates Airline rolled out their drive on January 18, with priority being placed on its frontline aviation workforce, including cabin crew, flight deck and other operationally focused roles.

Singapore also started its campaign to inoculate aviation and maritime workers in January.

Masked Etihad flight personnel serve passengers. Etihad Airways
Masked Etihad flight personnel serve passengers. Etihad Airways

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore said it was giving priority to staff who may come into contact with travellers from overseas.

United Airlines’ chief executive Scott Kirby said he wanted to make Covid-19 vaccines mandatory for employees, but injections in the US are running behind schedule.

On Tuesday, another major Abu Dhabi employer, Adnoc Distribution, said all of its 7,500 petrol service station staff had taken at least one vaccine dose.

“Our employees have shown a proactive commitment and unwavering desire in fighting the spread of the disease,” said Ahmed Al Shamsi, acting chief executive.

“I am extremely proud of their dedication to always upholding the highest standards of HSE, and they are shining examples of how important it is for us all to work together against Covid-19.”

The UAE has one of the highest rates of inoculation, with a target of vaccinating half the population by the end of March.

More than 4.5 million doses of Covid-19 vaccine have been administered.

Dr Amer Sharif, head of Dubai’s Covid-19 command centre, said in an interview with Bloomberg that the goal was to hit 100 per cent in the final three months of this year.

At present, vaccination centres in the UAE are prioritising older people, those with chronic diseases and Emiratis until mid-March.

Residents who do not fall into any of these categories can still receive the vaccine if they make an appointment.

People who have already received the first dose should still receive their second shot as scheduled, within 28 days.