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COVID-19 | Government comes out with guidelines for vaccinating of aviation personnel

The Ministry of Civil Aviation, in a notification, has asked airport operators to tie-up with State governments or private service providers such as hospitals to set up COVID-19 vaccination centres.

May 06, 2021 / 06:33 PM IST
Representative image

Representative image

The central government on May 6 came out with guidelines for setting up vaccination camps at airports for the vaccination of aviation personnel.

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has asked airport operators to tie-up with state governments or private service providers such as hospitals to set up COVID-19 vaccination centres.

However, companies that have already made arrangements with the government or private sector for the vaccination of their employees, would be allowed to continue with their plans.

In the case of smaller airports, the government has asked operators of smaller to approach district administrations for extending the vaccination drive.

The guidelines also advise all aviation companies to cover the expenses for their personnel under the ongoing vaccination program.

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COVID-19 Vaccine

Frequently Asked Questions

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How does a vaccine work?

A vaccine works by mimicking a natural infection. A vaccine not only induces immune response to protect people from any future COVID-19 infection, but also helps quickly build herd immunity to put an end to the pandemic. Herd immunity occurs when a sufficient percentage of a population becomes immune to a disease, making the spread of disease from person to person unlikely. The good news is that SARS-CoV-2 virus has been fairly stable, which increases the viability of a vaccine.

How many types of vaccines are there?

There are broadly four types of vaccine — one, a vaccine based on the whole virus (this could be either inactivated, or an attenuated [weakened] virus vaccine); two, a non-replicating viral vector vaccine that uses a benign virus as vector that carries the antigen of SARS-CoV; three, nucleic-acid vaccines that have genetic material like DNA and RNA of antigens like spike protein given to a person, helping human cells decode genetic material and produce the vaccine; and four, protein subunit vaccine wherein the recombinant proteins of SARS-COV-2 along with an adjuvant (booster) is given as a vaccine.

What does it take to develop a vaccine of this kind?

Vaccine development is a long, complex process. Unlike drugs that are given to people with a diseased, vaccines are given to healthy people and also vulnerable sections such as children, pregnant women and the elderly. So rigorous tests are compulsory. History says that the fastest time it took to develop a vaccine is five years, but it usually takes double or sometimes triple that time.

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During the COVID-19 surge, the aviation community has had to work to ensure unhindered services for the movement of people in need and essential cargo including critical medical cargo like vaccines, medicines, oxygen concentrators, etc.

The guidelines also suggest that priority should be made to cover air traffic control officials, the crew of airlines including both cockpit and cabin, mission-critical and passenger facing staff on priority.

All airport operators have also been advised to designate a nodal officer for coordinating the efforts.

The government's decision to come out with guidelines for vaccination of aviation personnel comes just days after the pilot's union of Air India threaten to stop work unless they were vaccinated on priority.

Furthermore, the chairman of Airports Authority of India will hold regular meetings to review the progress of the vaccination drive for aviation staff in coordination with the Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation.
Yaruqhullah Khan
first published: May 6, 2021 06:33 pm

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