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Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, has become the first airline in the world with all its operating pilots and cabin crew vaccinated to help curb the spread of COVID-19 and give passengers who travel with the airline peace of mind.
This achievement was made possible through Etihad’s ‘Protected Together’ employee vaccination initiative which was formally launched in January this year. Building on the UAE’s Choose to Vaccinate campaign, Protected Together is about helping staff take proactive, personal steps towards protecting themselves against COVID-19.
Following the UAE Government’s target to vaccinate half of the UAE population by the end of March 2021, Etihad is ahead of schedule with over 75% of its entire workforce already having received at least one dose of the vaccine. With even more activity still planned as part of the Protected Together initiative, this figure will continue to grow as more employees step forward and choose to vaccinate.
Tony Douglas, Group Chief Executive Officer, Etihad Aviation Group, said:
“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. 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% vaccinated crew on board.”
Would you be more comfortable flying on a 100% vaccinated flight?
It is one thing for an airline to vaccinate its employees, but the much bigger question is what businesses will require from customers. Some countries will inevitably insist on a type of ‘vaccine passport’, so any decision would be taken out of the company’s hands in those circumstances. But, what about travel to countries that choose not to require proof of vaccination ?
The rapid development of COVID-19 vaccines has been a remarkable success, but vaccines are not 100% effective. For a vaccine programme to be as effective as possible, the proportion of people who have received a vaccine needs to be as high as possible. In the UK, the Government is of course extremely reluctant to even hint at anything remotely like forcing people to be vaccinated, but perhaps market forces will effectively lead to something similar in reality.
If businesses believed that customers (and staff) would generally prefer it if everyone on a plane (or perhaps even in a restaurant, or at a hotel) had proof of vaccination, it would not be surprising to see at least some businesses make it a requirement.
Would you be more comfortable knowing that everyone on your flight had been vaccinated?
Photos: (c) Etihad Airways