As the travel industry starts preparing for what it hopes will be a return to some level of normality later this year, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates has won the race to become the first airline to have vaccinated its entire onboard crews. Etihad says it has now vaccinated all its operating pilots and cabin crew to to make travellers feel comfortable onboard and to curb the spread of the virus.
Like many of the countries in the Arabian Gulf, the UAE has conducted extensive testing and research into the vaccine developed by Sinopharm, the Chinese state owned pharmaceutical company. Studies in the UAE found the vaccine to have an 86% efficacy rate and the vaccine has been taken by many state employees and senior officials. Etihad flight crews have been inoculated with the Sinopharm vaccine which the Khaleej Times has reported also protects against the new South African strain of the virus.
The UAE is home to Dubai which is currently on the UK’s “red list” of countries. Unlike Dubai however, the capital city of Abu Dhabi where Etihad which is based has taken a much more conservative approach to opening up its borders. Abu Dhabi continues to impose a number of strict measures to combat the spread of the virus and UK visitors are not currently welcome in the Emirate unless they have spent at least 14 days outside of the UK before their arrival.
Airlines across the world will be racing to ensure all their staff are vaccinated as quickly as possible in an effort to reassure passengers and regulators that air travel is safe. It has been suggested that some vaccines not only protect against those that have been inoculated from suffering serious illness as a result of Covid 19 but that they also prevent them spreading the disease.
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