February 8, 2022
MCHD continues to provide vaccine to cargo crews entering Mobile and Theodore
MOBILE, Ala. — In March of 2021, the World Health Organization (WHO) said the COVID-19 pandemic had triggered devastating consequences for not only human life but also the global economy. Maritime and air transport are two essential activities that underpin global trade and mobility and are key to a sustainable socio-economic recovery.
The Mobile County Health Department’s COVID-19 Response Team responded to that challenge by providing the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine to crews on cargo ships entering the Port of Mobile and Theodore Industrial Port.
“The Port of Mobile is a very important economic engine in our community,” said Dr. Bernard H. Eichold II, Health Officer for Mobile County. “It provides many jobs and directly connects Alabama with international commerce. As ships go from port to port around the world, their crews need to be protected from contagious diseases.
“The Mobile County Health Department is honored to provide COVID vaccine to the workers as supplies allow. This helps protect the industry, the essential employees, assists in preventing transmission of COVID from country to country, and thus make our community and Alabama healthier for everyone.”
The WHO says that more than 80 percent of global trade by volume is moved by maritime transport. The global economy depends on the world’s 2 million seafarers who operate the global fleet of merchant ships.
Katy Stembridge, MCHD’s Vaccine and Community Testing Coordinator, said many crew members are now eligible for booster shots. Of the two most recent vessels served, the crew aboard the Saga Journey (a general cargo ship registered in Hong Kong) requested Pfizer vaccine while the crew of the Pebble Beach (a bulk carrier ship registered in Malta) wanted Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The two ships received a total of 35 boosters.
In 2021, Stembridge said the COVID-19 Response Team assisted 35 different vessels. There were 651 vaccines provided between May and August.
The MCHD COVID-19 response team would like to thank local organizations that have assisted with this project. This includes International Ministries of the Mobile Baptist Association, Catholic Maritime Ministry, Mobile Port Ministries, and Stella Maris of Mobile; U.S. Maritime Security; Norton Lilly International; Bluewater Shipping; Lott Shipping Company; and Fillette Green Shipping Services.
For the latest information on the COVID-19 vaccine efforts, please visit www.MCHDcares.com or call 251-410-MCHD (6243).