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IATA Seeks ‘Essential Worker’ Status for Aviation Employees

At least one trade group is seeking to have aviation sector employees considered as essential workers as plans to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine are created.  The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has renewed its call on governments around the world to ensure that aviation employees are designated essential workers and are eligible for the shot 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 Alexandre de Juniac, IATA’s director general and 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 including police, for example.