Port Canaveral in Florida will become the first U.S. port to distribute COVID-19 vaccines to port workers and vessel crew members starting immediately, officials announced Friday.
The decision was made in response to a Florida Public Health Advisory approved by Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Surgeon General Scott A. Rivkees, MD, issued the day before.
The advisory expands 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.
“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,” Capt. John Murray, Port of Canaveral CEO, said in a statement. “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.”
Up to 1,000 COVID-19 vaccination shots per day can be provided to vessel crew members, and shoreside and waterside support personnel.
Port Canaveral officials consulted with the U.S. Coast Guard, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and cruise line operators, as well as the CDC, to develop its vaccination model. Ship operators responded positively to the expanded eligibility and vaccine doses were administered to personnel on Friday at the Port.
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