The Union of Cabin Crew (UCC) has called for Air Malta’s cabin crew to be given the same priority as other transportation workers for vaccine eligibility.
In a statement, the union said it was concerned about the vulnerability of cabin crew members, as they have “been at the forefront during this global pandemic, working lifeline schedules repatriation flights and manning short notice cargo flights”.
Furthermore, with the prevalence of the British variant of COVID, the union insists that its workers are especially at risk due to their staffing of flights to the UK.
“The UCC points out that the UK variant could only have reached [Malta] from one of two entry points, namely the airport or port”, it said, and “therefore due precedence should have been given to complete the vaccination process of [its] frontline crew community”.
The UCC notes that whilst other transportation workers are due to be vaccinated starting next week, “cabin crew have been left on the side-lines within this national transport category”.
As things stand, Malta has taken a slightly different approach to its vaccine rollout program compared to its European peers, placing a relatively gentler emphasis on age (as opposed to profession or other medical vulnerability).
This is illustrated by data from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control, which shows that amongst Malta’s second-oldest classification (those 70-79 years old), only 11.2 per cent of this group have had the first dose of the vaccine.
This means a smaller proportion of 70-79 year olds in Malta have been vaccinated than any other age group, except those 18-24, of which 8.9 per cent have received the first dose of the vaccine.
Workers’ groups including those for bank staff and teachers have appealed to the Government to prioritise them in the vaccine rollout as frontline workers.
The airline also plans to introduce daily flights between Rome Fiumicino and Malta by June
The appeal process delayed the project by 122 days
Home Affairs Minister Byron Camilleri notes that education and awareness are the best tools to combat such threats