In response to the second wave of COVID-19 in India, the International Seafarers’ Welfare and Assistance Network (ISWAN) has launched a ‘Vaccination Drive for Indian Seafarers’ in collaboration with Narayana Health and the Medica Group of Hospitals.
Over the last few weeks, ISWAN’s international helpline SeafarerHelp has received a significant number of calls from Indian seafarers who have shared the various challenges they and their families are facing in India due to the disastrous impact of the second wave of COVID-19.
Indian seafarers have 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.
ISWAN’s ‘Vaccination Drive for Indian Seafarers’ will be coordinated by ISWAN South Asia and aims to facilitate vaccines for Indian seafarers as a priority in various cities around India. The cost is amongst the lowest available – from 630 Indian rupees per dose. ISWAN’s vaccination drive will facilitate administration of only World Health Organization-approved vaccines – currently COVISHIELD in India. Two doses are necessary and the government’s guidelines for the gap between the doses should be followed.
Any companies or organisations wishing to take advantage of this programme may wish to organise an on-site camp for a large number of their employees with the hospital concerned – they should contact ISWAN’s Director of Regions Chirag Bahri at email@example.com and ISWAN will facilitate such arrangements.
Mr. 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 would like to thank 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.
Seafarers wishing to register for a vaccination through ISWAN’s programme should register on CoWIN at www.cowin.gov.in/home then complete ISWAN’s online form, found with instructions at t.ly/0Cm6. 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. Seafarers should not contact the hospitals directly. Locations of vaccination centres can be found via the online form. Seafarers with any questions about the vaccination drive can contact SeafarerHelp – ISWAN’s free, 24-hour, multilingual helpline – for assistance by calling 000 800 050 1459 (toll free from India) or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.