Following the news that Wizz Air, following in the footsteps of United and Delta in the US,have set a December deadline for cabin crew to be vaccinated, Dr Pavlos Arvanitis, Senior Lecturer in Aviation Management at the University of Bedfordshire, says there is no clear-cut answer as to whether cabin crew should be vaccinated:
“Wizz Air have taken some steps towards making it compulsory for cabin crew to be vaccinated as have United and Delta in the US. Others may follow suit but there’s no clear cut answer as to whether it is necessary. On one hand passengers and crew are generally required to follow rules to stay safe. After all, while you are on a plane as a passenger you are obliged to have your seatbelt fastened during take-off, turbulence and landing. When it comes to safety airlines follow very strict protocols and procedures everyone has to adhere to.
“On the other hand the majority of nationally mandated health protocols already include rigorous testing against Covid-19 before and after travel, regardless of the vaccination status of each passenger. So, given that all passengers must have a negative Covid-19 test prior to boarding, the chances of catching the infection while on board are minimal, which means it is not critical to ensure the cabin crew are vaccinated.
“With arguments for and against having some substance airlines will have to weigh the pros and cons of mandatory vaccination. They are all likely to do all they can to encourage vaccinationof crews because this will boost passenger confidence and reassurance that everything that can possibly be done has been done. The best way for airlines to proceed is to demonstrate social responsibility by acting preventively rather correctively to protect their staff, passengers and reputation.”