ON THE FRONT LINE: PEOPLE BEHIND SINAPORE'S WAR AGAINST COVID-19

Budget airline staff help as healthcare assistants

Ms Loo Chien Hui, a customer service manager at Jetstar Asia, has been working as a part-time healthcare assistant at Changi Airport Terminal 4’s vaccination centre, screening and ushering people, among her duties.
Ms Loo Chien Hui, a customer service manager at Jetstar Asia, has been working as a part-time healthcare assistant at Changi Airport Terminal 4’s vaccination centre, screening and ushering people, among her duties. PHOTO: JETSTAR ASIA
Mr Damien Teo, a captain at Jetstar Asia, has also been involved in contact tracing and coordinating swabbing efforts.
Mr Damien Teo, a captain at Jetstar Asia, has also been involved in contact tracing and coordinating swabbing efforts.PHOTO: JETSTAR ASIA

Crew members from Jetstar Asia have been working part time at the vaccination centre at Changi Airport Terminal 4, as they battle the Covid-19 virus that has decimated their industry.

Since they have been furloughed due to the pandemic, the budget airline's staff have been working as healthcare assistants there.

The centre was opened on Jan 18 to inoculate those in the aviation sector such as air crew and front-line workers.

Both Mr Damien Teo, 43, who is a captain at Jetstar Asia, and Ms Loo Chien Hui, 35, a customer service manager, are involved in manning the registration and discharge counters, and screening and ushering people.

Mr Teo, who has been involved in contact tracing as well as coordinating swabbing efforts since the beginning of the pandemic, found that moving on to help with vaccinations felt like coming full circle.

"It's very heartening as it feels like we've built rapport with our patients. Some of them still remember us when they return for their second dose," he said.

Ms Loo said that working in the centre is similar to serving in-flight passengers, as both require a service-centric approach.

"One of the patients was trembling as she said she was very afraid of needles. But we managed to calm her down, and she eventually took the jab and said it was painless," she said.

Dr Tan Joo Peng, the centre's lead physician when it opened in January, said many in the aviation industry have been eager to help with the vaccination effort, in the hopes that travel could soon resume.

"It's very heartwarming," said Dr Tan.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on March 21, 2021, with the headline 'Budget airline staff help as healthcare assistants'. Subscribe