The International Air Transport Association (IATA) had made a call for governments across the globe to prioritize aviation workers when it comes to the administration of the new COVID-19 vaccines.
IATA’s members called for aviation workers to be considered as essential employees when being considered for vaccination, more so now that skilled workers will be required to ensure the safe transportation of the new vaccine.
“We are not asking for aviation workers to be on top of the list, but we need governments to ensure that transportation workers are considered as essential when vaccine roll-out plans are developed. The transportation of the COVID-19 vaccines has already begun, and as calculations show, it will require the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747 freighter aircraft for global distribution. It is therefore essential that we have the qualified workforce in place to ensure a functioning logistics chain,” said Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s Director General and CEO.
As more countries start softening border restrictions, aviation workers are at a much higher risk even with increased testing requirements and other safety protocols. Infection and death rates continue to hit record levels, forcing some countries back into a state of partial or full lock down.
The cargo industry will also be under heavy pressure over the next few months to years as they start the long task of deliveries vaccines across the globe.
Of all the vaccines, Pfizer’s variant has proven to be the most challenging to transport as it requires that it be stored and shipped at -70 degrees Celsius. With cargo and passenger airlines joining in to provide as much freight capacity as possible, precision work would be required to transport these vaccines, which also means that support staff need to be looked after during the process. This means that all those involved in aviation need to be protected during these critical times.
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