Port Canaveral first cruise port in the USA to sponsor COVID-19 vaccinations for seafarers

   May 2, 2021 ,   Cruise Industry

Port Canaveral is the first port in the United States to support COVID-19 vaccine distribution to vessel crew members and port workers in response to a Florida Public Health Advisory approved by FL Governor Ron DeSantis and Surgeon General Scott A.Rivkees, MD issued on April 29 expanding vaccine eligibility to include "individuals who are in the state for purpose of providing good or services for the benefit of residents and visitors of the State of Florida."

Port Canaveral FL has developed its vaccination model via cooperation with Cape Canaveral's Parrish Healthcare Center, Canaveral Fire Rescue, and cruise companies' medical personnel. Up to 1000 COVID vaccination shots daily can be provided to shoreside, waterside support personnel, and vessel crew members, which aligns with recommendations by the federal CDC for a return to cruising in the United States.

Port Canaveral officials consulted with the USCG (US Coast Guard), US Customs & Border Protection, cruise shipping companies and the CDC agency to develop its vaccination model in order to expeditiously and efficiently get vaccines disbursed to crew and shoreside personnel. Cruise ship operators responded positively to the expanded eligibility so vaccine doses were administered to personnel on Friday, April 30, at the Port.

Officials from the USA's CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released new guidance, allowing cruise vessels to sail with vaccinated crew and passengers as early as mid-July. This change to the restart timeline comes following a month of twice-weekly meetings between the maritime team of the CDC and the cruise industry and ports, including Port Canaveral FL.