COVID-19 Vaccination: Nigeria, others called to recognize airport workers as essential

SAHCO PLC staff provide cargo handling operation for British Airways at Murtala Mohammed International Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, Nigeria

The Nigerian government and other governments around the world have been charged to recognize airport workers as essential as vaccination programmes for COVID-19 are rolled out once the needs of the most vulnerable people and healthcare workers are met.

Director-General of Airports Council International (ACI) World Luis Felipe de Oliveira gave the charge in a statement in Montreal, Canada, last week.  

Luis Felipe de Oliveira said that airport workers should be recognized as essential and prioritized for vaccination once key workers and the most vulnerable people are looked after.

According to him, airport workers are frontline workers who are in daily contact with the travelling public so prioritizing them for vaccination will further demonstrate that the health and safety of passengers and staff remain of paramount importance to the industry.

He added that aviation would play an increasingly crucial role in supporting the social and economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, through the movement of essential goods – including the distribution of vaccines – across the world as well as facilitating the growing number of people who will be travelling in the coming months.

ACI World Director General Luis Felipe de Oliveira said “As the global roll-out of vaccines commences, it is clear that the most vulnerable in our society and those key healthcare workers who are doing so much to keep us all safe and healthy are prioritized for vaccination. As this crucial group is vaccinated, it is then important for other key groups are prioritized to receive the vaccines so they can support a global recovery from the pandemic.

“Airport workers are, for the most part, frontline staff who are in contact with the public every day so ensuring that they are prioritized for vaccination will provide further evidence of the industry’s commitment to the health and safety of passengers and staff.

“Aviation will also be a key engine, driving the recovery from the pandemic through the movement of essential goods, including, of course, the vaccines, and through the economic and social benefits that are delivered to the communities airports serve.

“Around 60 per cent of those employed in aviation work at airports so it is important that governments recognize airport workers as essential and are prioritized for vaccination so they can help deliver the recovery that the world needs.”

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