In a letter this week to Federal Health Minister Patty Hajdu, flight attendants across the country requested priority placement for the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) has already identified the criteria that would allow some workers to receive COVID-19 vaccines before others.
For Wesley Lesosky, president of the Airline Division of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), there is no doubt that flight attendants should be considered essential workers when allocating vaccines.
More specifically, it asks the government to consider them as “people contributing to the maintenance of other services essential to the functioning of society” as well as “people with a high risk of infection due to their living or working conditions”.
Including the work of flight attendants in these categories would place them in an enviable position in the allocation of vaccines.
“Let’s be clear: at-risk populations and healthcare workers should be given top priority. That said, we believe that flight attendants perfectly meet the criteria established by the government for early vaccination, ”summarized Mr. Lesosky in his letter.
“We believe it is important for the government to recognize that flight attendants were among the first Canadians to come across COVID-19 in the workplace and become infected with it. We ask you to take this information into account when the government determines its priorities for early immunization, ”he added.
CUPE’s Transportation Division has 27,400 members in the transportation sectors across the country, both public and private. Employees of major airlines are all included, including those of Air Canada, Transat, WestJet and Sunwing.