Nautilus International is urging all visiting seafarers to the UK to get vaccinated against Covid-19 following confirmation of access to services from the Department of Health and Social Care.
Seafarers of any nationality serving on ships visiting the UK are entitled to vaccination in the UK without needing an NHS number or to register with a GP.
Many visiting seafarers have benefited from this, notably in Southampton, Tilbury, Hull, Liverpool and Fowey, where shipping companies and/or seafarer welfare organisations have made arrangements with local health authorities.
However, it was apparent that other local health authorities were unaware of the Government's policy, and the Union with the UK Chamber of Shipping, wrote to the Department of Health and Social Care for that to be addressed by government.
'The global shipping industry is very keen to ensure that the seafarers who perform their vital work on its ships have access to vaccination in places where their ships call, since many are unable to access vaccines in their home countries,' the letter said.
Maggie Throup, MP, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Vaccines and Public Health said: 'Whilst it would be expected that ships may have their own clinical staff, there are differences to the Covid-19 vaccines in comparison with other immunisations. These differences include the storage requirements and accessing the NHS IT system which document vaccine delivery. The NHS recommendation was therefore that vaccination should be delivered by NHS staff, but could be supported by clinical teams on ships.'
Visiting seafarers are encouraged to approach their employer, contact their local seafarers centre or access an NHS vaccination drop in centre when in port
No immigration checks are needed to get tested, treated or vaccinated for Covid-19.
Vaccinated crew will be given a card with information about the jabs received.
Meanwhile, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has launched a ‘Get Boosted’ campaign to encourage all over 18s to get their booster vaccine (or first and second vaccines) as soon as possible.
Boosters are recommended to protect against the Omicron variant. The latest data suggests Omicron is extremely transmissible, according to BEIS. New data suggests that vaccine protection is substantially reduced against Omicron with just two doses, but a third dose boosts protection to over 70%.