RwandAir becomes first African airline to vaccinate every employee
- Rwandan President Paul Kagame was also the first Head of State to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in East Africa on March 11, 2021.
- Rwanda received its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX initiative on March 3, 2020.
- 343,723 people have been vaccinated so far with the country's caseload at 20,975 as of March 24, 2021.
RwandAir is the first African airline to vaccinate all staff against Covid-19, a move which is expected to position the carrier as one of the safest on the continent.
The airline began its vaccination rollout programme earlier in March targeting all staff and crew who received their first shot.
Yvonne Manzi Makolo, CEO of RwandAir, said: “Rwanda’s rapid roll-out of the first consignment of vaccines to arrive in the country prioritized all frontline workers, including RwandAir’s staff and crew. The vaccination programme has been designed to ensure we provide a safe and secure environment for travellers, both in the air and on the ground.”
“We have carefully considered every customer touchpoint at Kigali International Airport and on board our aircraft, as the world resumes travelling in the post-Covid era.”
“We look forward to welcoming our customers back to RwandAir. As an airline, the health and safety of our customers and staff is our number one priority and we have been working hard to restore our customers’ confidence to fly.”
Non-airline staff at Kigali International Airport, the airline’s hub, were vaccinated as well in what the airline said will ensure a safe and secure environment for all passengers.
This comes after RwandAir announced it will be the first carrier in Africa to start trialling the IATA Travel Pass in April 2021 to enable the safe resumption of international travel.
In addition to RwandAir staff and crew, the staff of other airlines operating at the Kigali International Airport also received their Covid-19 vaccinations at the same time.
Rwandan President Paul Kagame was also the first Head of State to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in East Africa on March 11, 2021.
— Presidency | Rwanda (@UrugwiroVillage) March 11, 2021
Photos of the 63-year-old and his wife Jeannette receiving the vaccine in a hospital in Kigali were posted on the official Twitter account of the Rwandan presidency.
Edson Rwagasore, epidemic surveillance response division manager at the Rwanda Biomedical Centre, told Anadolu Agency said: “President Kagame receiving the COVID-19 shot set a good example to Rwandans. It is very crucial at this point when some people, due to little knowledge perhaps, doubt the importance of the vaccine in combating the coronavirus.”
“In terms of awareness, it is a reassurance about the vaccine’s safety for people who still believe in rumors about it,” he added.
Rwanda received its first shipment of the AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines through the COVAX initiative on March 3, 2020.
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