Maritime organizations are raising the challenge of vaccinating Marines during pandemics for special programs and studies that recognize their role as essential individuals in the global supply chain. The Netherlands responded to this request that all naval forces, regardless of their nationality, operating on coastal ships under the Dutch flag or under Dutch administration from mid-June are eligible to receive COVID-19 vaccines under the Dutch Royal Vaccine Association (KVNR)).
In recent months, the shipowners’ association, the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM), has examined to what extent the Navy can implement a conventional national vaccination strategy, or whether a separate approach is needed, given the group’s particular characteristics. The results of this study confirm that the Navy needs a separate approach.
“As a shipowner, the Dutch government has recognized the need to vaccinate seafarers through a specially designed program, and has given us the confidence to implement this valuable vaccination program,” said Annette Koster, Director of KVNR.
Vaccines are available in batches from mid-June and spread for several months while the Navy is in the Netherlands, as the Navy spends only limited time in the Netherlands, on vacation, at home, or on a ship. In total, 49,000 Johnson vaccines will require only one injection per marine.
In consultation with stakeholders and the Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management, KVNR will play a major role in the logistical development of the vaccination program. The vaccination will take place in several major ports and in Schiphol. These vaccines are available free of charge from the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sports, while the logistics and actual vaccination costs are borne by private parties in the maritime sector.
“We now have to look beyond that problem. The risk to the affected ship is very great, and above all, no dangerous medical facilities are immediately available at sea,” Coaster added.
The project was implemented in close consultation with the Dutch government, the Federation of Hydraulic Engineers, the Federation of Marine Fisheries Owners and the International Trade Union Nautilus.
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