The Centre on Thursday, issued an advisory to facilitate swift COVID-19 vaccination of aviation personnel working in government as well as private entities.
As per the guidelines, civil aviation community provided unhindered services for the movement of people in need and essential cargo including critical medical cargo like vaccines, medicines, Oxygen Concentrators, etc., thus their vaccination remains a priority.
To ensure this, a dedicated vaccination facility will be set up by the airport operators in their respective airports to ensure speedy inoculation of staff, as per the guidelines issued by the Civil Aviation Ministry.
Preference during vaccination should be given to the air traffic controllers (ATCs), cockpit and cabin crews of the airlines as well as mission-critical and passenger-facing staff, it said.
India has been badly hit by the second wave of coronavirus infections, even as hospitals in several states are reeling under a severe shortage of vaccines, oxygen, drugs, equipment and beds.
The guidelines stated that the operator should immediately contact the state governments or private service providers (hospitals), which are willing to set up COVID-19 vaccination centres at the airports.
There can be more than one service provider at any airport depending on the number of personnel working in the aviation ecosystem," it stated.
Airport operators must establish facilities like drinking water, help desk, ventilation, fans, washrooms, vaccination counters and segregated waiting area, it said.
The cost per vaccination dose can be determined by the airport operator with the service provider and it will be the same for aviation personnel, it mentioned.
The focus of major airports could be on tying up with private service providers, it noted.
"For smaller airports where the numbers to get vaccinated are less and private players do not find it viable, airport operators can approach the district or local administration for extending the vaccination programme," it added.
The facilities created by airport operator would be available for all aviation personnel in the first phase and can be extended to the family members subsequently, it mentioned.
"All airport operators are advised to designate a nodal officer -- and alternative nodal officer may also be kept in readiness -- for coordinating the efforts," the guidelines noted.
"Chairman of Airports Authority of India (AAI) will hold regular meetings to review the progress and coordinate with the Civil Aviation Ministry, and Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) will address issues or challenges," it said.
The AAI owns and manages more than 100 airports across the country.
"This is the broad framework to facilitate expeditious vaccination of the civil aviation community in the country," the guidelines said.
New coronavirus cases and deaths in India hit a record daily high with 4,12,262 new infections and 3,980 fatalities being reported, taking the total tally of COVID-19 cases to 2,10,77,410 and the death toll to 2,30,168, according to the Union Health Ministry data updated on Thursday.
Registering a steady increase, the active cases have increased to 35,66,398 comprising 16.92 per cent of the total infections, while the national COVID-19 recovery rate has dropped to 81.99 per cent, the data updated at 8 am showed.
(With inputs from PTI.)