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ICS says seafarers should be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccinations

ICS says seafarers should be prioritised for vaccinations
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The International Chamber of Shipping (ICS) has and said maritime workers should be prioritised for COVID-19 vaccinations after it published its ‘Vaccination Roadmap’ framework.

In a statement, the ICS said the document can be used by shipping companies, their agents and representatives, including crew agencies, maritime administrations and national health authorities.

To help governments and companies responsible for creating hubs, the 21-page document has information on vaccine eligibility, implementation, distribution, administration and legal issues, the ICS claimed.

Seafarers, the ICS said, are a unique population with their own requirements for international travel.

To protect the health of seafarers, passengers and the general public, and to minimize disruptions to trade and global supply chains, vaccination of seafarers is essential, the ICS said.

Port authorities will work in collaboration with other stakeholders, including shipowners, charities and medical staff to ensure effective vaccine implementation.

These learnings can be translated and replicated globally when other countries are in the position to do the same.

The roadmap will allow countries to do so quickly, by allowing governments, companies and other stakeholders to learn from the best practise of others.

Guy Platten, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Shipping, commented, “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.”

While industry bodies are working with authorities at a national, regional and international level to prioritise rapid access to vaccinations for seafarers, a roadmap dedicated to seafarer vaccination will help to achieve global immunization.

The document can be used by shipping companies (their agents and representatives, including crew agencies), maritime administrations and national health authorities, in liaison with other authorities (such as local customs, immigration, border control, seaport and civil aviation) and seafarers, during the planning and roll-out stages of the vaccination programme.

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.

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