The heads of five UN organizations recently issued a joint call for seafarers and aircrew to be prioritized for COVID-19 vaccination.
Namely, the Secretary-General of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), the Secretary-General of the International Maritime Organization (IMO), the Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) jointly issued a statement urging all United Nations Member States to prioritize seafarers and aircrew in their national COVID-19 vaccination programmes.
In fact, the UN organizations call to protect seafarers and aircrew through vaccination as soon as possible in order to facilitate their safe movement across borders.
Seafarers and aircrew need to be protected through vaccination as soon as possible, to facilitate their safe movement across borders. We also call on governments to identify and prepare for the challenges of COVID-19 vaccination of seafarers and aircrew, particularly for seafarers spending long periods of time away from their home country.
…the statement says.
What is more, the letter noted that maritime and air transport rely on seafarers and aircrew. They are key workers, required to travel across borders, which may, though contrary to WHO recommendations – result in the need for them to present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for entry in some countries.
The UN Crisis Management Team for COVID-19, under the leadership of the World Health Organization (WHO), has recognized that all countries should consider seafarers and aircrew, who are required to travel across borders during the pandemic, as a priority group for vaccination against COVID-19.
For shipping and air transport to continue to operate safely, the safe cross border movement of seafarers and aircrew must be facilitated. We reiterate our call upon countries that have not done so to designate seafarers and aircrew as key workers.
…says the joint statement.
The organizations state their full support for the timely development of an international harmonized framework for vaccination certificates, to facilitate international travel for seafarers and aircrew.
Concluding, Member States are strongly encouraged to take urgent action to address this issue and bring the contents of this circular letter to the attention of the competent health, immigration, border control and maritime authorities, at both national and local levels; as well as all other parties concerned, in particular ports and airports.