Covid jabs at airports will be gamechanger for India's vaccination coverage
Vaccination is the only solution for attaining herd immunity and for the world to return to normalcy
Air travel is one of the primary carriers of the Covid-19 virus which spread globally in 2019. Soon all international air travel between countries was suspended and domestic measures like lockdown ordered to curb the spread of the deadly virus. Vaccination is the only solution for attaining herd immunity and for the world to return to normalcy.
The current strategy of administering vaccines is through medical centres. With more vaccine makers entering the market, newer hubs need to be created to make it feasible for citizens to walk in and out of designated centres.
When vaccines are offered to the masses, three kinds of people emerge:
1. Vaccine acceptors
2. Moveable middle
3. Vaccine refusers
The US Covid-19 Behavioural Taskforce report has recommended that it is important to address the needs of the moveable middle to increase the number of vaccinated citizens. The three strategies that can be adopted are:
1. Making vaccinations easy
2. Influence and boost motivation
3. Build trust in vaccine safety
Airports are big hubs where people merge and then distribute to various regions. This activity is a continuous process and there can be innumerable combinations of travellers, staff and surfaces that can transmit the virus interacting with each other at any given moment. Airports also provide the biggest opportunity to conduct large scale vaccination drives as people walk through various gates for check-in, security screening and boarding.
Innovative and easy measures like registering for the vaccination at the time of web check-in or directly at the airport and a quick walk in and walk out channel will help increase the vaccination numbers. Passengers arriving on international flights or domestic flights can get vaccinated while they wait for their baggage to arrive.
There can be billboards and videos promoting vaccination safety, which can motivate passengers and influence them to get vaccinated.
Another form of motivation that has been seen in US states are offers of Covid-19 vaccination lottery. Oregon Governor Kate Brown had announced lottery prizes ranging from $10,000 to $1 million for Oregonians vaccinated against Covid-19.
These measures will help change the citizens' attitude, especially the moveable middle, towards Covid-19 vaccination by making the process easy and motivating them. This will also help a few vaccine refusers to change their mind too. As far as airports, airlines and economics are concerned, the more passengers and flights, the faster the revival of the industry and the livelihood of the many lost in this pandemic.