The International Seafarers' Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has launched a vaccination drive for Indian seafarers in response to India's second wave of Covid-19.
The drive is being done by ISWAN's South Asia branch in collaboration with private hospitals Narayana Health and the Medica Group of Hospitals.
ISWAN also thanked its funders, especially The Seafarers' Charity and Trafigura Foundation, for their support, which has enabled ISWAN's regional team in India to assist seafarers and families affected by Covid-19. This vaccination drive has been made possible by a grant from the Seafarers International Relief Fund.
ISWAN's Director of Regions Chirag Bahri said: 'It is our duty to keep exploring possibilities in ways we can try to assist our seafarers and their families undergoing tremendous hardships due to the Covid-19 situation in the country, which is unimaginable. We are pleased to be working with Narayana Health and the Medica Group of Hospitals and are very grateful to them for their wholehearted support of this initiative.'
ISWAN said its international helpline SeafarerHelp had received a significant number of calls from Indian seafarers over the last few weeks, who had reported being unable to join vessels as they could not get vaccinated, which has resulted in increased hardship for the seafarers and their families and worries that they may lose their jobs.
The vaccine cost is said to be amongst the lowest available, from 630 Indian rupees per dose. Only World Health Organization-approved vaccines will be administered – currently COVISHIELD in India.
Indian seafarers wishing to register for a vaccination through ISWAN's programme should register on CoWIN then complete ISWAN's online form. ISWAN will contact applicants within three working days to notify them when their vaccination has been scheduled and seafarers will be required to pay directly at the hospital concerned.