As the COVID-19 vaccines roll out around the globe, every region has shown their varying takes on which groups should receive the valuable doses first. In New Jersey, for example, smokers have been prioritized, while there have been calls in the U.K. to put high-risk ethnic groups at the top of the list. And in Singapore, airline crew members are stepping to the front of the line, according to CNN.
Singapore Airlines, the national carrier for the Asian nation, is hoping to become the first airline to vaccinate its crew, including pilots, flight attendants, gate agents, and any other staffers who have contact with the public. They will be offered the two-dose Pfizer vaccine provided by the government for free.
"We are grateful to the Singapore government for making the aviation sector a priority in the country's vaccination exercise," Singapore Airlines CEO Goh Choon Phong said in an email distributed to the company on Jan. 18, CNN reported.
According to the airline, 5,200 employees have signed up for the shots, which will begin rolling out out in a few days.
"This reflects the sector's importance, and the crucial role we play in both Singapore's economic recovery and the fight against the pandemic." Currently, flight crews are tested on their seventh day back to the nation. Once vaccinated, they won't require testing.
Singapore has contained the spread of the virus better than other nations, in part because they're implementing wearable contact-tracing devices and using drones to enforce social distancing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the level of COVID-19 spread in Singapore is currently "moderate." In comparison, more than 150 nations, including Canada, Germany, Spain, Iceland, and Italy, are all two notches above in the highest Level 4 category. Since the beginning of the pandemic, Singapore has had 59,157 cases and 29 deaths, according to data from the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.
Among its routes, Singapore Airlines runs the longest flight in the world, clocking in at 18 hours and 40 minutes. The route, which travels between New York City and Singapore, resumed in November after being paused in light of the pandemic.
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