The North American Maritime Ministry Association (NAMMA) has compiled information on COVID-19 vaccine availability for foreign seafarers in United States ports.
As explained, the list is shared to assist all the ongoing efforts of local seafarers’ welfare agencies, government bodies, health care providers, industry and labour partners who are working together to provide seafarers with vaccines, including:
- locations where seafarers can get the vaccine in various ports (e.g. at welfare organisations or at pharmacies)
- contact details for these locations
- which vaccine is on offer at each location
- where the vaccine can be administered (e.g. onboard ship)
As a signatory to the Neptune Declaration on Seafarer Wellbeing, NAMMA supports all efforts to recognize seafarers as key workers and give them priority access to Covid-19 vaccines.
In past weeks, pharmacies and health authorities in many US states and cities have made COVID-19 vaccines available to foreigners. Requirements for receiving vaccines differ from port to port, however. In certain areas no i.d. is required, in other places foreign i.d. is accepted, or, as in Florida, the state has explicitly stated that “the Public Health Advisory also expands vaccine access and eligibility to any individual in Florida who is present in Florida for the purpose of providing goods or services for the benefit of residents and visitors of the state.”
The list NAMMA is compiling is for information purposes only and is not intended to correct or replace any information given by local, state, or federal government agencies or any health care providers. As no other central organization has been collecting this information and has shared it, however, NAMMA has created this webpage as part of its mission to share resources for seafarers’ wellbeing.
Following the situation, NAMMA President Dcn. Paul Rosenblum stated:
Vaccines against COVID-19 are critical for all of us to get beyond the pandemic, but they are especially important for seafarers in order to travel to their homes at the end of their contracts, to obtain new contracts, and to travel to join their new vessels. We hope that vaccinations will also allow seafarers to once again enjoy the shore leave that is so necessary for their wellbeing.
At this time, a number of NAMMA members and partners in ports around the United States are facilitating vaccines for foreign seafarers, at local pharmacies and health providers where it is possible. In certain places, seafarers’ centers are facilitating health officials coming on board to vaccinate the crew.
NAMMA Executive Director Dr. Jason Zuidema noted, “Since the start of the pandemic, seafarers’ welfare providers have felt powerless to help seafarers stuck on their ships without shore leave or crew changes. It is a tremendous encouragement at this challenging time to directly respond to seafarers’ need for connection with vaccine providers.”
In addition, NAMMA encourages all its members to visit and make use of its webpage, COVID-19 Vaccines for Seafarers. Sharing it with others interested in helping vaccinate seafarers and sending in new and updated information are also more than welcome.
Concluding, NAMMA is thankful for the help of the Center for Violence Protection at UTMB Health, the International Transport Workers’ Federation, and the Center for Mariner Advocacy of the Seamen’s Church Institute. NAMMA welcomes any other partnerships that might help facilitate seafarers receiving vaccines.