Panama to begin vaccinating foreign seafarers

by Jason Zuidema, NAMMA/ICMA

In a Press Conference, Nov. 23, Luis Francisco Sucre, Health Minister of Panama, announced that vaccines will now be available for seafarers visiting the country on Panama-flagged vessels.

Mr. Sucre specified that doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, branded as Covishield or Vaxzevria in different countries, will be offered to seafarers entering the country at Panama’s ports. There are also opportunities at the Sand Diamond Hotel in the Colon Free Zone and at the Tocumen International Airport.

The decision to vaccinate seafarers in Panama was in direct response to a formal request by The Mission to Seafarers – Panamá.

As the world’s largest flag state, with more than 9,500 vessels sailing under the Panamanian flag, the decision to offer vaccines to Panamanian-flagged vessels might have a considerable positive impact. Panama’s announcement comes in the context of increasing concern about vaccinations for seafarers. The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) released their Review of Maritime Transport 2021 on 18 November, listing vaccination as the number one priority for action. (xxiv)

Panama’s generous contribution to the cause of seafarer vaccination stands alongside that in a growing list of countries that allow foreign seafarers to receive vaccinations from national programs.

The written press release has been made available as a press release 637 on the Ministerio de Salud website:

Uso de dosis de AstraZeneca

El anuncio también incluyó el uso de dosis de AstraZeneca para colocarlas a camioneros que cruzan por los pasos de Paso Canoa, Guabito y Río Sereno; también se colocará dosis a los migrantes y marinos de barcos de bandera panameña que atraquen en puertos nacionales y que ingresen al país.

De igual manera se habilitará un puesto de vacunación dentro de la Zona Libre de Colón, específicamente dentro del Hotel Sand Diamond, para los extranjeros que ingresen a esa zona franca.

Estas dosis de AstraZeneca se aplicarán a través del programa Vacotur, así como se habilitará un punto de vacunación a la salida del puesto de migración, en el áreas de sala de pasajeros del Aeropuerto Internacional de Tocumen para que todo aquel que ingrese al país pueda, de manera voluntaria, vacunarse con AstraZeneca.

COMUNICADO N° 637, Martes, 23 de noviembre de 2021, Ministerio de Salud, República de Panamá

Photo: A container ship entering the Gatun Locks, Panama Canal. (stock photo)


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