File photo of the Indira Gandhi International Airport
File photo of the Indira Gandhi International AirportIANS

Guidelines issued for vaccination of civil aviation community

New Delhi, May 7, 2021

The Ministry of Civil Aviation has issued enabling guidelines for fast and efficient vaccination of the civil aviation community, including setting up of dedicated vaccination facilities by the airport operators conforming to all COVID safety protocols.

An official press release said that, during the COVID-19 surge, the aviation community has worked tirelessly to ensure unhindered services for the movement of people in need and essential cargo including critical medical cargo like vaccines, medicines, oxygen concentrators, and so on.

Secretary, Civil Aviation had sent a letter earlier to all the State Governments with a request to consider the personnel involved in aviation and related services as a priority group under the vaccination programme.

As per the guidelines, all players in the civil aviation sector would be advised to cover their personnel under the ongoing vaccination programme. The organizations which have already arranged with the Government/private service providers for vaccination to their employees may continue to do so.

A dedicated vaccination facility is advised to be established by the airport operators in their respective airports to facilitate expeditious vaccination for the personnel involved in aviation or related services (including contractual and casual workers).

The airport operator should immediately contact State Governments and private service providers (hospitals), who are willing to set up COVID Vaccination Centres at airports.

The guidelines state that required facilities like setting up of vaccination counters, segregated waiting area (pre- as well as post-vaccination) are to be established by the Airport Operators. Basic facilities for the personnel visiting (help desk, drinking water, ventilation fans, washrooms, etc.) are to be arranged following COVID safety protocols. The cost per vaccination dose can be decided by the Airport Operator with the service provider. These facilities would be available for all aviation sector stakeholders at the same cost.

All agencies working in the airports eco-system need to sponsor their personnel to avail the facilities as operators/service providers would not be dealing with individual cases. Further, an online payment mechanism to the service provider for vaccine doses administered for their respective personnel should be set up.

For the smaller airports (where the numbers to get vaccinated are less and private players do not find it viable), the airport operators can approach the district/local administration for extending the vaccination programme.

The facilities created by the airport operator would be available for all the civil aviation personnel in the first phase and can be extended to the family members subsequently.

The guidelines suggest that priority should be made to cover Air Traffic Control (ATC) staff, the crew of airlines (both cockpit and cabin), and mission-critical and passenger-facing staff on priority. All airport operators have been advised to designate a nodal officer (an alternative nodal officer may also be kept in readiness) for coordinating the efforts.

The guidelines said that Chairman, Airports Authority of India (AAI) will hold regular meetings to review the progress and coordinate with the Ministry and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) to address issues and challenges. If there is an issue of vaccine availability, the Ministry would takeit up at the appropriate level for smooth supply, the release said.

The order further mentions that, considering any impending local situation, suggested guidelines may be contextualized and improved but all safety protocols and instructions issued by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare, the concerned State Governments or Civil Aviation Ministry, related to COVID 19, must be followed.


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