Queensland Government to Vaccinate Visiting Seafarers

Queensland Government to Vaccinate Visiting Seafarers

International Seafarer Vaccinations

Maritime Safety Queensland (MSQ) is working with Queensland Health to progress vaccination options for international seafarers visiting QLD ports. Vaccination of international seafarers is important for the health and safety of maritime crew who are critical to the continuity of shipping, supply chains and essential trade.

International seafarers will be offered vaccine access at Queensland Ports in an Australian first program to ensure visiting crew are protected from COVID-19.

Equally, it is important for the health and safety of Queensland’s port workers and wider Queensland community, as a vaccinated person is less likely to contract and transmit COVID-19.

The International Transport Federation (ITF) and the International Maritime Employers Council (IMEC) have both advocated strongly for seafarers and waterside workers to have access to safe and effective vaccines. In a statement, the ITF has said:

In the global fight against Covid-19, vaccination is key. Therefore, [we] strongly recommend seafarers get vaccinated and for [shipping] companies to ensure that seafarers who want to be vaccinated are allowed to do so when this is possible.

With informed consent, the Astra Zeneca vaccine can be made available to persons 16 years and over. MSQ will shortly commence a trial whereby GPs and/or Pharmacists can administer the Astra Zeneca vaccine to visiting international seafarers, either by seafarers visiting clinics or pharmacies under strict COVID-safe transport, or mobilising vaccinations to the ships while alongside at the Port.

MSQ is now working with industry to identify test case vessels to progress the trial; such vessels may include coastal runners, regular pacific island traders, those that frequent Queensland on a routine basis, and ships where crew may have already received their first dose of AstraZeneca (in acknowledgment that two doses of the COVID vaccine are needed to ensure the required efficacy). It is proposed that this trial will then gradually be extended as logistical processes are worked through and vaccine supply (and options) increases.

Further information will be provided as MSQ continues to work with Queensland Health and industry through this proposal.

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