Singapore Airlines crew members will soon all have to be vaccinated against Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) coronavirus and will be required to pass one to two training programs before becoming fully vaccinated. The company said the measures are meant to prevent the spread of the deadly virus, which killed 34 people last year.
The airline plans to cover around 500 crew members who will have to be vaccinated by the end of July. In addition, all crews will undergo procedures specific to MERS coronavirus and will be required to go through one training program and get two boosters to avoid complications during a cabin flight.
“I think passengers should be reassured that this is a proactive measure and it is not mandatory,” the airline’s spokesman said.
Singapore Airlines isn’t the only company to address MERS in the recent past. Airlines including British Airways, Finnair, LOT Polish Airlines, and Lufthansa added more filters to cabins to protect staff on board and even circulated hand sanitizer on board. Earlier this year, Singapore Airlines also became the first airline to start offering flu vaccinations for employees of flying days.
MERS, which is found in Saudi Arabia, is one of the more severe viruses in the Middle East. Symptoms can include fever, headaches, and shortness of breath but can be confused with other illnesses like the common cold.
The first case of MERS was diagnosed in 2002 in Saudi Arabia and has since killed some 650 people globally. It was discovered to be caused by a strain of coronavirus.