About 800 longshoremen from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach got the first COVID-19 vaccinations on Friday at the US’ busiest seaport complex.
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The two ports together account for nearly half of all US maritime trade and some 70% of the US imports from Asia, according to Reuters. They have been inundated with incoming cargo, resulting in delays that have caused record numbers of ships to wait to be unloaded and a slowdown in the movement of goods across the US.
The International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU), representing dock workers, told Reuters that the appointments were fully booked in 20 minutes.
Many dockworkers have jobs that require interacting with dozens of different people every day, ILWU members said.
You can’t do (working in) pods. There is no way to avoid contact and physical distance in some jobs,
…said ILWU member Brennan Hill, 52, who also received his first of two injections on Friday.
Data from ILWU, presented at Los Angeles Times in mid-January, revelaed that 694 members had tested positive for the virus while 12 members were reported to have died from the virus.
The Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services organized Friday’s clinic, the first of a series. It came as mass inoculation sites in other parts of Los Angeles County –including at Dodger Stadium –are temporarily closed due to a lack of vaccine doses.