37,000 frontline aviation, prioritization of maritime employees for COVID-19 vaccine

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SINGAPORE: Plans to provide 37,000 frontline staff in the aviation and maritime sectors with COVID-19 vaccines started on Monday (January 18), with vaccination centers coming into full swing for both industries.

During a visit to one of the Changi Airport Terminal 4 vaccination centres, Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung said that the Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise is already scheduled to vaccinate about 13,000 staff from both sectors this week.

Approximately 2,000 aviation employees will receive the vaccine at T4 on Monday, while approximately 1,000 maritime workers will receive it at the Raffles City Convention Centre.

Around 7,000 aviation workers are scheduled to be vaccinated this week.

Priority will be given to the 20,000 frontline workers who may come into contact with travellers from high-risk countries, said the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS).

“These include pilots, cabin crew, airport and aircraft cleaners, security screeners, passenger service agents, baggage handlers and cargo handlers,” CAAS told the media in a statement.

This was described by Mr Ong as a significant step towards the revival of the air sector in Singapore.

That is why Singapore continues to follow various safe travel schemes, such as green lanes, air travel bubbles and separated travel, he said, adding that the country would be prepared for the eventual recovery of aviation.

In terms of the country’s image as a safe place in the midst of the global pandemic, getting Singapore’s aviation and maritime frontliners vaccinated would also aid.

“Singapore Airlines can be the first vaccinated international airline in the world,” he said.

The vaccination exercise will also help secure Singapore further, Mr. Ong said, adding that the vaccinated frontline staff might serve as guardians of the country’s borders against the spread of the pandemic of COVID-19.

Noting that up to 4,000 vaccines a day could be done by each of the vaccination centers, with 21 days between the two jabs needed for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, Mr. Ong said that within two months, the 37,000 staff could get the vaccine.

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