The ugliness of vaccine prejudice crystallises
It was said that seafarers were not vaccinated quickly enough due to supply issues. Maritime employers’ vaccine initiatives could not keep up with the demand as well. Industry observers were anticipating the final destination for the un-vaccinated is unemployment.
The dilemma about vaccinations
Mixed opinions about seafarers getting vaccinated saturated the web. While no individual should be compelled to get jabbed, there will be liabilities if an unvaccinated crew falls ill. Not to mention, insurance coverage may also get tricky – subject to the employers’ willingness to cover this unpredictable virus. This is in addition to the industry’s willingness to accept seafarers unable to be vaccinated on medical grounds.
Last month, industry representatives noted an estimated 25 per cent of the world’s 1.4 million crew were vaccinated. Some 30 per cent remained reluctant for a wide array of reasons, including side effects. Meanwhile, the industry is sporadically rolling out vaccination programmes for seafarers regardless of nationality – supporting the cause to keep everyone safe. Yet, this would not guarantee opened borders across countries, except for minimising the risks against falling very ill when emergency medical assistance is either limited or inaccessible. These data were disclosed during the London International Shipping Week.
To assist in facilitating seafarers’ inoculation, Singapore has joined the Sea Crew Vaccination Initiative (Seavax), a global vaccination drive for seafarers. Foreign seafarers will have the option of receiving Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna vaccines while staying for more than 30 days, and working in the supply of essential goods or ferrying passengers.
However, in special cases where seafarers are not able to receive the vaccinations on medical grounds may find themselves treading on thin ice. Given it is at the employer’s discretion to cover COVID-19 in the contract, seafarers are not far from the short end of the stick.
Crewing Online News Team
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