India’s Maritime Association of Shipowners Shipmanagers and Agents (MASSA) on Monday said it will launch a nationwide Covid-19 vaccination drive in association with various maritime bodies to inoculate Indian seafarers free of cost in the months to come.
“We will kickstart our Covid vaccination initiative from June 10 onwards and aim to inoculate at least 10,000 Indian seafarers with Covishield doses in Mumbai within a fortnight,” said Shiv Halbe the CEO of MASSA.
After a statutory period of 84 days, the second dose of Covishield will be administered free of cost to seafarers.
Indian seafarers have watched on as many other nations have prioritised vaccinating sea-going professionals, most notably in China. Indian crewing experts have been urging New Delhi to get the nation’s seafarers jabbed quicker or else risk losing their status as one of the world’s top providers of crew to the international merchant fleet.
Many nations around the world have banned ships with recent calls – or staff boarded recently – from India as the nation battles a nasty strain of the virus.