The vaccination roadmap aims to help establish hubs for vaccinations of seafarers across the world. Many seafarers come from developing countries where the rollout of vaccines has been slow, and the ICS noted roughly 60% of the seafaring population come from countries that do not have the vaccine available.
The ICS also highlighted that to date 16 states in the US had started to vaccinate, and that other European nations were set to follow including the Netherlands.
The roadmap is a 21-page document is designed to allow 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.
“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,” Guy Platten, secretary-general of the ICS said.
Due to the transient nature of seafarers single dose vaccines were strongly preferred. The majority of vaccinations require two doses delivered several weeks are part which creates logistical difficulties for seafarers serving onboard.
Ship managers association Intermanager has already expressed its frustrations at the slow pace at which steps to introduce an international programme to vaccinate seafarers under the IMO are moving. It has pledged to privately source vaccines for all its members seafarers, something many larger ship managers are already doing on their own account.
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