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Abu Dhabi's Etihad says majority of pilots, crew taken both vaccine doses

DUBAI (Reuters) - Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways said on Wednesday the majority of its pilots and cabin crew had received two of the required doses of a coronavirus vaccine.

The airline earlier said flights were only being operated by pilots and cabin crew who had been vaccinated, which a spokeswoman later said meant had received at least one dose.

Most Etihad pilots and cabin crew have received both doses, she said without disclosing precise numbers.

The airline has been offering staff a vaccine developed by China’s Sinopharm, which is also available to the general public in the United Arab Emirates.

The airline says more than 75% of staff, including Chief Executive Tony Douglas, have received at least the first dose of the vaccine.

Etihad had 20,457 employees as of February, including 1,969 pilots and 4,817 crew, although sources have said the airline has laid off thousands of employees due to the pandemic.

Etihad did not respond to questions on what it would mean if pilots and cabin crew were not vaccinated, including for medical reasons.

Dubai’s Emirates Airline has also offered the Sinopharm vaccine and another developed by Pfizer-BioNTech to its staff.

The UAE has seen a sharp rise in coronavirus infections since the start of the year, with daily cases peaking at a record 3,977 on Feb. 3.

Reporting by Alexander Cornwell; Editing by Kirsten Donovan and Edmund Blair

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