First group of Air New Zealand employees to receive vaccine

24 February 2021

They are part of the group which has played an important role in protecting New Zealand’s borders and community.

Throughout the pandemic, Air New Zealand has continued to operate international flights to bring home thousands of New Zealanders from around the globe, including 29 special charter flights. On top of this, the airline has helped move nearly 53,000 tonnes of cargo to market through the International Air Freight Capacity Scheme.

Air New Zealand Chief Medical Officer Dr Ben Johnston says the airline welcomes the arrival of the vaccine and is pleased its employees have been prioritised to receive it.

“Our employees have been among the most impacted by COVID-19 safety requirements including following isolation protocols offshore, undergoing regular testing, wearing PPE at work, or isolating on return from duties, all the while keeping New Zealanders connected to each other and New Zealand connected to the world.

“We welcome the Government’s decision to prioritise border workers for vaccines as a means of protecting the people who are most at risk of contracting COVID-19 in New Zealand. A safe and effective vaccine is a vital step towards the long-term control of COVID-19, and eventually allowing our borders to open to international travel.”

All of the airline’s cabin crew and pilots, plus airport, cargo and line maintenance employees in Auckland and Christchurch will be first in line for the vaccination which is happening in a staged approach over the next few weeks.

“While it’s not mandatory, we are strongly encouraging our people to take the opportunity to be vaccinated as part of the prioritised roll-out. We are working hard with our people to ensure everyone understands how the vaccine works, the benefits of receiving it and key safety information so they can make an informed decision.”

Air New Zealand Inflight Service Manager 787 Audrey Poskitt is among the first to be vaccinated and says she hopes getting this vaccine will help change the perception of aircrew who do offshore duties.

“Receiving the vaccine for me is about providing an extra layer of protection for my community, on top of the measures in place already.

“My husband is immune compromised, and when I come home from offshore duties, we often spend time in different parts of the house. By getting vaccinated, I’m helping to keep him and the rest of my whānau and friends safe.”

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