NEW DELHI: The states should consider aviation workers as a priority group for anti-COVID vaccination program that is going to start from May 1, Aviation Secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey told chief secretaries of all the states on Tuesday.
The aviation sector has been at the forefront to extend services to the movement of people, essential medical cargo, including vaccines, medicines, medical equipment, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Pandey's letter to the states said.
The vital role played by the Vande Bharat Mission and the lifeline Udan flights has been noteworthy, the letter dated April 27 mentioned.
"It is understandable that the crew, engineers, air traffic controllers, technicians, groundstaff and frontline workers in aviation face significant risk while discharging their duties," it said.
To ensure the sector continues to render essential services to the nation, it is imperative that the aviation workforce is covered on priority in the vaccination program, the statement stated.
As the vaccination drive for all above 18 years of age will be done from May 1, we would request you to kindly consider the personnel involved in aviation and related services like airlines, airports, maintenance, cargo, groundling agencies, feeling, security, catering, as a priority group, it said.
"This letter is copy to airport operators to effectively coordinate with concerned state governments for maximum coverage," the statement noted.
As India witnesses a surge in COVID-19 cases, it has decided to allow all citizens above 18 years of age to get vaccinated from May 1.
The country saw a record single-day rise of 3,60,960 coronavirus cases, which pushed the total tally to 1,79,97,267, while the death toll crossed two lakh following 3,293 fresh fatalities, according to Union health ministry data updated on Wednesday.