Air India said that discussions were already on to vaccinate all employees, including the crew, against COVID-19
Following a stern ultimatum from the pilots' union, Air India on May 4 announced that it will vaccinate all its employees against COVID-19 by May-end.
The national carrier said that discussions were already on to vaccinate all employees, including the crew. "As the guidelines did not allow vaccination of persons below 45 years of age, Air India could not complete the vaccination," it said.
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"Since May 1 all persons above 18 years of age can be vaccinated, a schedule for vaccination is now being drawn up and it is expected to commence as early as next week and all employees will be vaccinated by the end of this month," Air India said, adding that a schedule is being drawn up keeping in mind crew who do not have fixed working days.
The Indian Commercial Pilots Association (ICPA) had in a letter threatened to stop work if the airline management failed to start vaccination camps for the flying crew immediately.
"If Air India fails to set up vaccination camps on a pan-India basis for the flying crew above the age of 18 years on priority, we will stop work," the union had said.
Read: Air India pilots' union threatens strike if members not vaccinated at the earliest
With no healthcare support to the flying crew, no insurance and a massive opportunistic pay cut, pilots are in no position to continue risking their lives without vaccination, their statement read.
Alleging that many crew members have tested positive for COVID-19 and are struggling to get oxygen cylinders, the ICPA said that the pilots are left to fend for themselves for hospitalisation.
Read | COVID-19: When should you get hospitalised? Health Ministry lists signs and symptoms
India has been badly hit by the second wave of coronavirus infections as hospitals in several states are reeling under a severe shortage of oxygen, drugs, equipment and beds.
On May 4, India's tally of COVID-19 cases crossed the 2-crore mark with over 50 lakh infections being added in just 15 days. The virus has claimed 2.22 lakh lives so far, as per health ministry's figures.Click here for Moneycontrol's full coverage of the COVID-19 pandemic