As the world limps into its second year of the pandemic, vaccinations are on the minds of many Canadians who are yearning to be worry-free of contracting COVID and to return to a life enriched with loved ones, friends, travel and work. So many of us have been disconnected from each other for so long and our core business, connecting people, will play a vital role in reuniting Canadians and kickstarting our economy.
In preparation for looming mass vaccination efforts, WestJet has stepped up with offers to each provincial government and their chief medical officers to provide support for distribution and immunization efforts. The offer includes transporting vaccines and other required materials through WestJet Cargo, flying medical personnel where required or taking equipment and volunteers to remote stations.
“Since the start of the pandemic, our people have been on the frontlines, providing caring, safe and reliable service to more than 1.3 million guests and ensuring the transportation of critical goods across our country,” said Mark Porter, WestJet Executive Vice-President People and Culture. “We again stand at the ready to assist the mass vaccination rollout efforts across Canada whether through air transport or employee volunteers.”
The airline has a large pool of safety and service-trained employees both active and furloughed that it has now tapped to be at the ready. In only four days since the signup went out, 700 WestJetters from across the country have put their hands up to assist, and while some are medically trained, vaccine efforts won’t just be about the jab.
Bringing thousands of people into any one area will see the need for people to direct traffic, check in patients, enter data, observe patients after the shot, and bring doses back and forth to the nurses administering them.
“Many of our WestJet CUPE members are anxious to get travel restarted. Providing the opportunity to have a hand in assisting in vaccination distribution and rollout, using the unique skills of our members is a welcome and positive step.” Said Chris Rauenbusch, President, CUPE, local 4070.
“WestJetters are a unique breed who cannot pass up an opportunity to help and serve their community, we all look forward assisting where needed in the government’s vaccination programs.” Said Brad Cherrington, Chair WestJet Airports Employee Association (AEA).
Said Caitlin Buchanan, a WestJetter Cabin Crew member, “It has been a difficult time being furloughed for the past eight months, but seeing this opportunity arise has given me the ability to actively participate in helping Canada return to a time when travel is okay, and people can once again board a plane. I am ready to help and can’t wait for the call.”
Continued Porter, “We continue to work closely with our federal and provincial governments regarding additional information on their detailed rollout plans but want to make it clear that WestJet is here for whatever is needed for this critical initiative. We are at your service and ready.”