The International Air Transport Association (IATA) on Tuesday renewed its call on governments to ensure that employees in the aviation sector are considered as essential workers during the impending Covid-19 vaccine campaign, once health care workers and vulnerable groups have been protected.
“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,” said IATA Director General and CEO Alexandre de Juniac.
IATA’s CEO highlighted that the transportation of Covid-19 vaccines, which has already begun, will require the equivalent of 8,000 Boeing 747 freighter aircraft for global distribution, according to calculations.
“It is therefore essential that we have the qualified workforce in place to ensure a functioning logistics chain,” he said.
IATA’s call is aligned with the proposed Roadmap for Prioritizing Uses of COVID-19 Vaccines by the World Health Organization’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunization (SAGE).
The roadmap recommends priority populations for vaccination based on the respective epidemiologic situation and vaccine supply scenarios. Within this framework, SAGE has included transportation workers alongside other essential sectors outside health and education sectors including police, for example.
IATA’s 76th Annual General Meeting (AGM) had unanimously adopted a resolution to this effect.
The AGM also reiterated the vital role of air transport in facilitating the global response to the pandemic, including the timely distribution of medicines, testing kits, protective equipment and eventually vaccines around the world.