Port Canaveral has become the first port in the U.S. to distribute the COVID-19 vaccine to port workers and ship crew members. This comes after the CDC sent a letter to the cruise industry detailing new guidelines, which included the need for 98% of crew and 95% of passengers to be fully vaccinated.
Port Canaveral to Offer Vaccinations
The second busiest cruise port in the world will now be able to offer its workers and vessel crew members vaccinations due to the Florida Public Health Advisory approved by Florida Governor Ron Desantis and Surgeon General Scott A. Rivkees, MD issued on April 29.
It does now mean that the vaccine eligibility has been expanded to include those who are in Florida for the purpose of providing goods and services. This includes the crew members that enter the state from other countries and work on cruise ships.
Capt. John Murray, Port CEO, stated:
“We have been working closely with our cruise partners, the Florida Department of Health, and our port community to come up with a plan and timeline of vaccinating cruise ship crews that could begin the process for a safe return to cruising.”
“This expanded eligibility is significantly important for our cruise tourism business, and we’re proud of our efforts to help get this industry up and running.”
Port Canaveral will provide up to 1,000 vaccination shots per day for vessel crew members and port support personnel. The vaccination model has been developed with the Parrish Healthcare Center at cape Canaveral, Canaveral Fire Rescue, and cruise line medical personnel. Officials at the port were also guided by the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs, and Border Protection.
This will be welcome news for cruise lines that operate out of the port, including Carnival Cruise Line, set to debut its new Mardi Gras from the new Terminal facility in the summer.
Cruise lines play a major role at the port and have done so well to make the new vaccination program a reality. In fact, on Friday, the first people under the new eligibility received their vaccination by the port. It’s also in line with the CDC’s newly updated instructions detailed recently in a letter sent to cruise lines.
The CDC has shifted its stance and is now working well with the cruise lines to get cruises resuming in mid-July 2021. There have been twice-weekly meetings between the CDC’s maritime team, ports and cruise lines during the past month.
We also know that PortMiami is already developing a facility to be able to vaccinate crew. We’ll keep readers updated on all the latest as the cruise industry works on getting moving once again this summer.