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Just 13% of seafarers have received first vaccine shot – survey

Image: BMA vaccinebma.jpg
A welfare survey by the Bahamas Maritime Authority (BMA) shows that 87% of seafarers are still waiting to receive their first Covid-19 vaccine shot.

Or put another way just 13% of seafarers have received a vaccine shot despite the frontline and international nature of the job.

The figures are based on the first result of the survey by the BMA and researchers at the University of Washington School of Public Health, and the BMA said the survey had gained a high level of support maritime organisations and seafarers.

“Of the respondents to date, 86% would be willing to have the vaccine if offered and 65% would feel safer if they had been vaccinated,” BMA said.

“Initial results also show that more than half of those who have been at sea during the pandemic have been impacted in terms of shore leave and ability to get on or off the vessel,” it added.

The slow pace of vaccinations among seafarers is source of frustration for the industry. Many seafarers come from countries where vaccination programmes have been slow to get off the ground, and coordinated international efforts are also yet to bear fruit.

Major ship managers have taken to procuring vaccines privately. Ship manager’s association Intermanager has sourced 1 million shots of Johnson & Johnson’s single-shot vaccine but is having difficulty finding a government authority to help it complete the purchase.

Some US states are now offering single-shot vaccinations to international seafarers, while China is offering vaccinations to its seafarers at 11 Chinese ports.