Singapore has become one of the first nations to prioritize COVID-19 vaccinations of frontline maritime personnel as part of its national vaccination strategy to protect frontline personnel.
Under the Sea – Air Vaccination Exercise (SAVE), over 10,000 frontline maritime personnel are expected to be vaccinated for COVID-19 by the end of January.
These frontline personnel include port workers, harbour pilots, cargo officers, marine surveyors and marine superintendents who are required to work onboard ships in our port.
They carry out essential works including navigation, refuelling, ship repair and maintenance, as well as operations to transfer cargos.
The Maritime Port Authority (MPA) of Singapore said that harbourcraft and ocean-going crew who are Singaporeans and long-term residents living in the community are also prioritised for vaccination.
More than 700 personnel have been vaccinated over the past few days to prepare for the full roll-out of SAVE. The MPA has received about 6,000 registrations for vaccination this week.
The port authority said that due to the better protection offered by vaccination, frontline maritime personnel who have completed their full course of vaccination will be subjected to fewer testing requirements. Going forward, those who are currently on the 7-day Rostered Routine Testing (RRT) will be tested every 14 days; those who are currently on the 14-day RRT will be tested once a month.
“We rely on our frontline maritime personnel for the transportation of what we need everyday, including food, medical supplies, and consumer goods. We hope that the vaccination can give them peace of mind when they perform their work onboard ships. This will provide an additional layer of protection, and keep their family and the community safe. We strongly encourage them to come forward for early vaccination,” Quah Ley Hoon, Chief Executive, MPA, said.
The first maritime worker to be vaccinated was PSA Marine harbour pilot, Mr Loh Kah Wai, 55.
“The vaccination keeps me safe and enables me to do my job with less worry. It’s one more layer of protection, not just for me but for my fellow harbour pilots and my family,” he said.