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COVID-19 vaccinations: Public transport workers are being included within global vaccine strategies

22/02/2021
  • Communication
  • COVID-19
  • Staff
  • Urban mobility

Public transport employees have been a large part of the conversation this past year…

When the coronavirus pandemic began, UITP and our international membership saluted those who worked tirelessly within public transport to keep our cities moving.

As much of the world stayed at home, global networks of trains, trams, buses, and metros began and closed out each day with more dedication than ever before.

Recognising their commitment to passengers in cities and countries around the world, we recognise them as essential workers and saluted them as our Guardians of Mobility.

Now, almost one year on from the beginning of the pandemic, those who work in every section of the public transport sector continue to be there for us, working under specific restrictions to provide safe and efficient services for those who need to move around.

The global conversation has now turned to the vaccination process against COVID-19, with vaccine strategies being implemented worldwide.

As essential workers, there have been calls for those working within public transport to be considered among the priority groups to receive the vaccine.

In certain cities around the world, this is what is now happening, with public transport staff being offered the vaccine within key worker groups.

UITP is pleased to hear about the rolling out of the various vaccines, and also to learn more about the moves to include public transport workers within specific priority groups.

As we see COVID-19 vaccination plans being implemented around the world, UITP is pleased that public transport workers are being included within the priority groups of several countries. Those working within the sector have shown how essential they are to keeping our cities moving, and it is welcome news to hear of a growing number of our international members being involved in offering the vaccine to their staff.  
Mohamed Mezghani
UITP Secretary General*

What’s the latest on vaccinations in cities and countries across the globe?

Today we’re sharing with you some of those vaccination stories from across the globe, including many from our international membership, so you can learn the latest on what’s happening within the sector.

In Singapore, a programme to provide the COVID-19 vaccine to almost 80,000 workers started at the end of January where UITP member the Land Transport Authority (LTA) began working with the Ministry of Health to offer the vaccination to public transport employees.

Employees of bus and train operators were included within the first group of 12,000 workers offered the vaccine.

In Russia’s capital, several thousand employees of the Moscow Transport network have received the COVID-19 vaccine with up to 500 public transport workers being vaccinated every day. A number of mobile vaccination points are currently operating at several transport hubs in Moscow to accommodate this.

Across to Shenzhen, China, where Shenzhen Bus started the process of offering their staff the vaccination against COVID-19, which was recommended but not mandatory, and saw around 16,000 public transport workers sign up for the vaccine since December of last year.

Around 12,000 staff members have already received it and around 5,800 have taken the second dosage of the vaccine. Arranged for by the company, staff can also be given their dose at a local health care facility.

In Dubai, the vaccine has been rolled out to public transport workers, where the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) has already vaccinated around 20,000 of their employees, with an aim to see all of their workers vaccinated, alongside their immediate families.

Back to Europe, where in Austria, critical infrastructure workers are included as a priority group and Wiener Linien in Vienna are planning to support the city’s vaccination campaign since they are part of the critical infrastructure. They also have their own medical staff available to take part in this, and this is due to begin from the end of February.

In America, New Jersey Transit will put a plan in place which will see their workers offered the vaccine when they become eligible under the third group of additional essential workers. This strategy should begin around the end of February into the start of March.

For those locations already including public transport workers, others are making considerations

For those cities and countries already including public transport workers in the essential priority groups, there are other locations about to follow suit or looking at where to place the sector in groupings.

What is clear to see is many cities and countries have led, become involved in, and taken the opportunity to see their frontline workers vaccinated against COVID-19.

Talks go on for the inclusion of public transport workers in priority groups for the COVID-19 vaccines in various other locations.

Public transport workers are essential to our cities and as we hear more of these plans, it’s becoming clear that the role of those working within our sector is being further recognised.

These developments have brought much conversation to the table and UITP is watching all of it develop. We’re interested to hear of these developments and pleased to see those offered the vaccination stepping forward to receive it.

We continue to salute, alongside our international membership, those working tirelessly within the public transport sector during the coronavirus pandemic to keep our cities moving.

*acting on behalf of Mohamed Mezghani SARL 
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