On 29 January, SMOU gathered close to 50 seafaring members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine. This is in line with the Singapore Government’s Sea – Air Vaccination Exercise (SAVE) initiative announced on the 18 January 2021, and the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore’s efforts to prioritise the COVID-19 vaccination of frontline maritime personnel. The initiative provides better protection offered through the vaccines, giving seafarers a peace of mind as they perform their duties and jobs on board ships that ply international waters.
Of this initiative, ITF General Secretary Stephen Cotton said that, “Singapore has set an example that the rest of the world should follow.” He commended Singapore’s tripartite collaboration in a letter he wrote to Transport Minister Ong Ye Kung, lauding how tripartite partners have worked closely to address challenges transport workers have faced during the pandemic.
The exercise was carried out at the Raffles City Convention Centre where the location was transformed into a vaccination centre to administer the vaccines.
SMOU officials President Rahim Jaffar, General Secretary Mary Liew, and Treasure Yong Soon Huat headed down to the venue to greet members and find out about any concerns they had regarding the vaccination. Care packs were also prepared for members containing protective items like a bottle of hand wash, SMOU face masks, mosquito repellent patches, and other useful items.
“To support the Government’s initiative to vaccinate frontline workers, we have encouraged our seafarers to go for the COVID-19 vaccination. We had a very good response for the first exercise, and hopefully this will encourage other seafarers to step forward to receive the vaccination as well” – Rahim Jaffar, SMOU President
SMOU supports the Government’s call for this initiative and we strongly encourage all seafarers who have been extended the opportunity to be vaccinated to participate in this exercise. As the vaccines continue to roll out, they will help to protect our loved ones, as well as the community from the dangers of the COVID-19 virus.