The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called on governments to ensure that aviation workers should be next in line for COVID vaccines after health care workers and vulnerable groups.
IATA sought to justify its comments by saying the aviation industry is integral to the distribution of medical supplies, medicines and soon, the COVID-19 vaccine itself.
“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 Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s CEO.
“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.”
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).
This 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