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Press release

Federal State of Bremen starts vaccination of sailors Published on 12 July 2021

Vaccination against coronavirus in the federal state of Bremen continues to progress very rapidly. More than 65% of Bremen’s population have been vaccinated at least once, and more than 40% already have full vaccination protection. As a joint project of the Port Medical Service and the Bremerhaven Vaccination Centre, and in cooperation with the port captain, a concept has now been developed to offer sailors vaccination directly at the port.

Coordination of the vaccinations is a major challenge. Short demurrage periods and arrival times of the ships, which often cannot be planned exactly, are factors that did not exist during previous vaccination campaigns. Vaccinations are provided Monday through Friday starting at 9:30 a.m., depending on incoming ships. The precise scheduling of vaccinations and the contact with agents is handled by the Port Medical Service. The vaccinations are carried out by a mobile vaccination team from the Bremerhaven Vaccination Centre. Here is what State Minister of Health Claudia Bernhard has to say on the new offer: “With the vaccination offer to sailors, we are providing further protection against coronavirus. We cannot think of the pandemic only locally. By vaccinating sailors, we offer them individual protection and, at the same time, contribute to the global containment of the pandemic and the possible spreading of new variants. I wish to thank the Port Medical Service, the Bremerhaven Vaccination Centre and the aid organizations there for their commitment to implementing this project!”

The State Minister for Science and the Ports, Dr. Claudia Schilling, states as follows: “Maritime shipping is the backbone of global trade. Sailors safeguard global delivery chains for the daily supply of people and for the production of goods. Sailors are affected particularly severely by the pandemic as they cannot disembark in ports, as crew changes are made difficult or impossible by international travel restrictions, and because medical care is often not guaranteed. Very few sailors have access to vaccination services in their home countries.” State Minister Dr. Schilling continues: “Bremen as a port and shipping location bears a special responsibility for the health of sailors in this situation. I am extremely pleased and wish to thank all those who have helped to set up this unique joint project. It represents a vital contribution and a real step forward in improving living and working conditions for sailors in the pandemic.”

The vaccinations are carried out by a mobile team from the Bremerhaven Vaccination Centre. For this purpose, the German Red Cross provides both the team staff and a vaccination bus. “Even though we as the city of Bremerhaven do not have any formal responsibility within the port, we were happy to make the logistical capabilities of our vaccination centre available for vaccinations in the port. The fact that the aid organizations are also on board again shows the great commitment in our city to comprehensive vaccination protection and the identification with Bremerhaven as a port city,” Bremerhaven’s mayor Melf Grantz declares.

A sailor is vaccinated in the vaccination bus (Photo: Pheline Hanke)

To develop a schedule that is as consistent as possible, the Port Medical Service will contact the agents prior to the ships’ arrival and ask for the number of sailors who are ready to be vaccinated. Vaccinees will receive the Johnson&Johnson vaccine, which spares the difficult coordination of a second vaccination. In addition, the Seamen’s Mission also promotes the vaccination offer to ships moored in the port.

The ports of Bremen/Bremerhaven are among the most important universal ports in Europe. No matter whether containers, cars, bulk and bulk goods, hazardous goods or project loading – the terminals at Bremen and Bremerhaven work with almost every type of cargo. In figures Bremerhaven is with about 5 million TEU annual throughput the number seven container port and with about two million cars the number two automobile port on the continent. In addition, the port group with the Columbus Cruise Center Bremerhaven offers one of the most modern passenger terminals for cruise ships.

The vaccination bus in the harbour (Photo: Pheline Hanke)

Contact persons for the media:

Lukas Fuhrmann, State Minister for Health, Women and Consumer Protection, phone: +49 (0) 421 361-2082, eMail: lukas.fuhrmann@gesundheit.bremen.de

Rainer Kahrs, State Minister for Science and the Ports, phone: +49 (0) 421 361-92713, eMail: rainer.kahrs@swh.bremen.de

Volker Heigenmooser, Municipal Government of Bremerhaven, phone: +49 (0) 471 590-2823, eMail: volker.heigenmooser@magistrat.bremerhaven.de