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NEW DELHI : No-frill carrier SpiceJet Limited will start a coronavirus vaccination drive from 17 May, as it hopes to inoculate all its employees across all its stations in the country, the airline said on Wednesday.

"The company-sponsored vaccination drive will start from Delhi and Gurugram and will cover SpiceJet employees across all the stations on the airline’s network. The airline will also make efforts to facilitate vaccination for the families of employees going forward," the airline said.

"The first ones to get vaccinated will be the front line employees of the airline, including airport staff and in-flight crew. The vaccination programme will be undertaken as per government rules and guidelines, and based on the availability of the vaccine," it added.

The airline, however, did not reveal if it has tied up with any organization or hospital to carry out such vaccination drive, nor the number of vaccine vials (if any) procured by it for this purpose.

SpiceJet's latest announcement also comes at a time when both the state and central governments are facing an acute shortage of covid-19 vaccines for inoculating citizens.

National carrier Air India Limited has cancelled vaccination camps at Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) on 11 May and 13 May due to the unavailability of coronavirus vaccines.

Air India, which had last week announced plans to vaccinate all its employees by May-end, has also deferred this plan due to vaccine scarcity.

"Vaccination is a key step towards fighting the covid-19 pandemic and it’s important that essential workers, such as airline employees, are vaccinated on priority," SpiceJet's chairman and managing director, Ajay Singh said in a statement.

"We will ensure that each member of the SpiceJet family gets vaccinated as quickly as possible and have drawn up a detailed schedule for this company-sponsored initiative," the statement added.

The decision by SpiceJet to inoculate its staff comes a week after the ministry of civil aviation (MoCA) advised all players in the civil aviation sector, including airlines and airports, to cover their employees under the ongoing vaccination programme in an attempt to expedite the vaccination process for employees in the aviation sector.

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