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WHO States Seafarers to be Given Covid-19 Vaccine Priority

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World Health Organization says Vaccine Priority to be Given to Seafarers

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Seafarers are now among personnel in the transportation industry who have priority access to COVID-19 vaccines when vaccine supplies are limited.

According to the new WHO guidelines for Stage II, the vaccine roadmap states, “Seafarers and air crews who work on vessels that carry goods and no passengers, with special attention to seafarers who are stranded at sea and prevented from crossing international borders for crew change due to travel restrictions.”

“I am glad to see that the WHO recognizes the importance of vaccinating seafarers on cargo ships. These individuals are responsible for transporting over 80% of all goods around the world, including food, medicine and vaccine supplies – and have continued to do so despite extremely challenging circumstances. Seafarers will play a key role in the global recovery, and barriers to international travel and crew change must be removed,” stated International Maritime Organization Secretary General Lim who welcomed the decision.

The IMO has issued a number of requests this year for seafarers to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccinations, including in March when it produced a joint statement with other UN organizations. During May, IMO voted in favor of adopting a resolution that called on all IMO Member States to identify seafarers as “key workers” and additionally to help distribute COVID-19 vaccines around the world fairly.

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