Singapore Airlines to require crew to get Ebola vaccine

Singapore Airlines (SIA) says it will require all its crew to be fully vaccinated against Ebola and hepatitis A, joining the airline industry’s growing list of steps to stay ahead of outbreaks.

The country’s main carrier said the cost of the vaccine is below $20 a person. The vaccine is available for purchase outside the UK, and can be bought directly from the manufacturer, Westphalia Laboratories, according to Britain-based United Kingdom Information Service.

The new policy will take effect May 1 for crew going on long-haul flights out of Singapore. The airline’s long-haul operations will remain unaffected.

Asia-Pacific airports face an escalating problem as Ebola continues to spread in West Africa, and recent cases of hepatitis A have affected travelers in Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan.

Singapore Airlines also announced that it would now forbid crew members from packing hand sanitizer on flights.

“These measures are aimed at securing the health and safety of passengers and crew on board flights,” it said.

The Ebola outbreak in Africa killed more than 11,000 people in 2014. The latest cases in West Africa have concentrated in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), home to the region’s largest single outbreak.

Investigators there found that about a fifth of people exposed to Ebola who were treated at a regional hospital were positive for antibodies to the virus.

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