Emirates reportedly ordered its staff to take a free COVID-19 vaccination or to undergo regular testing in order to ensure that none of the employees are infected with the virus.

According to the internal letter to the staff seen by media, Emirates asked all of its unvaccinated employees to take free vaccination. For those who refuse to get vaccinated, the airline ordered them to pay for their own regular testing procedures. The price for tests in Dubai, where the air carrier is based, costs up to $40. The airline informed the staff that starting from March 15, 2021, non-vaccinated staff will have to pay for their tests every seven days prior to the beginning of standby duty of flight.

“Certain countries may in the future differentiate entry criteria between those who have taken the vaccine and those who did not. Keeping this in mind, having a vaccinated workforce has become essential not just from a health and safety angle but from an operational one too,” the letter informed outlining that the vaccination policy is mandatory for the whole staff in the United Arab Emirates.

Having offered the Pfizer-BioNTech and Sinopharm vaccines, Emirates started a free UAE-based staff vaccination in January 2021. Under the program, the airline prioritized vaccinating its frontline aviation workforce, including cabin crew and flight crew members as well as focused workers. 

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Emirates counted that it has already fully or partially vaccinated 60% of the crew. According to the statistics, the UAE, which has registered more than 400,000 COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic in 2020, is the second country in the world after Israel by the numbers of vaccinated population.