Vaccination efforts step up across the globe

The Ministry of Health (MINSA) with the Panama Maritime Authority (AMP) have begun the process of vaccinating against Covid-19 all seafarers arriving at Panamanian ports, regardless of nationality, aboard Panama-flagged ships, or other registries.

Some 300,000 doses of AstraZeneca are available and will be applied in Pacific and Atlantic ports. The Panama Maritime Authority is in contact with the shipping agencies to get information from the vessels docking in Panama and determine the number of seafarers interested in being vaccinated.

Elsewhere, following the inoculation of foreign and Belgian seafarers since June, Belgium is once again spearheading a booster vaccine campaign for these maritime workers starting this week.

The vaccination of seafarers continues to be a challenge. In a note to members of his association yesterday, Kuba Szymanski, secretary general of InterManager, reported: “Ship and crew managers are in a very difficult spot. On the one hand, our Principals – owners, charterers and other partners – demand fully vaccinated crew. However, on the other hand, many seafarer supply countries are struggling to provide vaccination.”

In addition, changes have been made to the international recognition status of some vaccines which have already been provided to seafarers. For example, Johnson and Johnson is not recognised anymore by some jurisdictions, a popular choice for jabs for seafarers as it is a one-dose medication.

Sam Chambers

Starting out with the Informa Group in 2000 in Hong Kong, Sam Chambers became editor of Maritime Asia magazine as well as East Asia Editor for the world’s oldest newspaper, Lloyd’s List. In 2005 he pursued a freelance career and wrote for a variety of titles including taking on the role of Asia Editor at Seatrade magazine and China correspondent for Supply Chain Asia. His work has also appeared in The Economist, The New York Times, The Sunday Times and The International Herald Tribune.
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