Singapore Airlines is expected to ask its pilots and cabin crew to take the human papillomavirus vaccine as part of a safety feature for its current cabin crew. The requirement is part of a move to boost the airline’s passenger protection against one of the most common sexually transmitted diseases in the world.
The Daily Mail reports that the vaccine, Cervarix, was developed by GlaxoSmithKline to guard against the human papillomavirus (HPV), also known as the HIV virus, which is now responsible for around 14 million cancer cases worldwide.
The company says that the virus infects around 1 in 6 women and causes a small proportion of cervical cancer.
The airline will likely offer the vaccine to all cabin staff once all around-the-clock screening has been complete, the paper says.
“Many countries have already started introducing a precautionary vaccine for cervical cancer caused by HPV,” said a spokesperson for GSK. “It is our intention that Singapore Airlines will become the first carrier in the region to include routine vaccination in screening for potential HPV disease risk, although vaccination is not a requirement for crew or passengers to travel.”
An International Air Transport Association 2010 report estimates that HPV prevalence levels would reduce by an estimated 55 percent if a vaccination program was introduced.
The Daily Mail reports that the move has prompted the government of Singapore to speak out about its policy on the subject of personal privacy, suggesting that the airline’s move can only be seen as “an admirable, enlightened and responsible approach”.