Easyjet crew members will join Virgin Atlantic staff in working with the NHS on the UK’s vaccine rollout, the airline said today.
The announcement came after Virgin said that it had called on cabin crew, pilots and office-based staff to “assist with the national effort to save lives”.
Crew who apply will be fast-tracked to become trained vaccinators at NHS vaccination centres across the country.
Some 3,000 Easyjet staff are currently on furlough, and the carrier said that they had the ideal skills to help with the rollout efforts.
It expects hundreds of its staff to volunteer for the programme.
The airlines will work with the NHS and St John’s Ambulance service at mass vaccination centres around the country on a voluntary basis.
A spokesperson for Virgin confirmed yesterday to City A.M. that the plea had been sent to 6,000 Virgin Atlantic staff, and that the company has so far received huge interest from furloughed employees.
Virgin Atlantic in September secured a £1.2bn bailout following months of turbulence during the coronavirus crisis, which will see the bulk of flights grounded for the foreseeable future.
It comes after the government last night set a UK roadmap to vaccinate 2m people a week by the end of January as part of its Covid-19 Vaccines Delivery plan.
Matt Hancock said the government would turn to volunteers from “all parts of the NHS, retired clinicians, pharmacists, airline cabin crew, the armed services, St John Ambulance and the Royal voluntary service” to vaccinate the country.
“Vaccines are important and I care about them because I want our country to get back to normal as fast as possible,” the health secretary told a Downing Street press conference.
“I want us to have that great British summer — my team and I are working fast to deliver this as soon as possible.”
Businesses grounded during the pandemic have offered up shuttered sites to assist with the nation’s immunisation programme.
Hotel chain Best Western last week offered to transform 500 sites into “cottage hospitals” and vaccine sites to ease pressure on the NHS, which has warned that hospitals will soon be overwhelmed with Covid patients.
Meanwhile, Tottenham football club has offered its 62,000-seat London stadium to the NHS as a potential vaccine hub.
The scale-up plans come as Hancock yesterday announced that everyone will live iwhtin 10 miles of a vaccine centre by the end of the month. “Our attitude is whatever it takes,” he said. “Come and join, the jabs army is marching.”