FILE PHOTO: A woman holds a small bottle labeled with a “Vaccine COVID-19” sticker and a medical syringe in this illustration taken April 10, 2020. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration/File Photo

The Singapore Government’s plan to vaccinate 37,000 frontline workers in the aviation and maritime industries against COVID-19 kicked started on Monday (18 January), with vaccination centres for the two sectors coming into full swing.

Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung revealed during a visit to one of the vaccination centres at Changi Airport Terminal 4 that about 13,000 workers from these two sectors are scheduled to be given the vaccine this week under the Sea-Air Vaccination Exercise.

On Monday, about 2,000 workers from the aviation industry will be vaccinated at T4, while another 1,000 maritime workers will be given the vaccine at the Raffles City Convention Centre. Another 7,000 will be given the COVID-19 vaccine sometime this week.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) said that 20,000 frontline workers will be prioritised for the vaccine as they may have come into contact with travellers from high-risk countries.

“These include pilots, cabin crew, airport and aircraft cleaners, security screeners, passenger service agents, baggage handlers and cargo handlers,” said CAAS in a statement to the media.

Mr Ong also noted that this step is deemed as an important one to revive Singapore’s aviation industry.

“You all know that the aviation industry is decimated by COVID-19, but we must have the determination that when the crisis passes, Singapore will be an aviation hub of the region and the world again,” the Minister said.

This is the reason why Singapore introduced different safe travel schemes like green lanes, air travel bubbles and segregated travel, he said, pointing out that the country’s aviation industry will eventually recover.

If that’s not all, vaccinating frontlines in aviation and maritime sector will also help create a reputation for the country as a safe space amid the pandemic.

“Singapore Airlines can be the first vaccinated international airline in the world,” Mr Ong said.

Mr Ong went on to state that 37,000 workers could be given the vaccine within the next two months, given that the each of the vaccination centres can accommodate up to 4,000 vaccinations per day, with 21 days between the two injections required for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine.

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