As the US, Netherlands and other nations begin to roll out vaccines to all seafarers, the International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has today published a Vaccination Roadmap framework to help establish vaccination hubs dedicated to seafarers across the world, alongside other major maritime NGOs.
To date, 16 states in the US have begun vaccination programmes for non-native crew delivering goods in their ports. Other European countries are set to follow suit in the coming weeks and months due to successful programmes for their own populations, including the Netherlands which will launch a vaccination programme for all seafarers, regardless of nationality, flying under the Dutch flag from mid-June.
To help governments and companies responsible for creating hubs, the 21-page document has information on vaccine eligibility, implementation, distribution, administration and legal issues.
To protect the health of seafarers, passengers and the general public, and to minimise disruptions to trade and global supply chains, vaccination of seafarers is essential, says ICS Secretary General Guy Platten.
“The pace of Covid-19 vaccine production is a modern marvel, but the world is reeling over distribution delays. Soon seafarers will be delivering the vaccine by sea freight. Already they deliver critical PPE, safety boxes, syringes, and other medical materials for the vaccine rollout. Seafarers must be prioritised for the vaccine to not further exacerbate delivery delays.”
The roadmap allows governments, regions and companies responsible for port authorities to expedite putting procedures in place to create vaccine hubs, once they are ready to begin vaccine rollout to seafarers. Port authorities will work in collaboration with other stakeholders, including shipowners, charities and medical staff to ensure effective vaccine implementation.