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Labor group pushes jabs for Filipino seafarers

Labor group pushes jabs for Filipino seafarers
Samuel P. Medenilla December 27, 2021

GOVERNMENT agencies have yet to ascertain if any Filipino seafarers are among those on board dozens of cruise ships with reported Covid-19 infections now facing the same problems as last year—being refused entry by ports.

This, as a labor group stressed on Monday the importance of vaccination among Filipino seafarers amid the numerous cruise ships with reported infections.

The Associated Marine Officers’ and Seamen’s Union of the Philippines (Amosup) is banking on the said requirement by the employers to ensure the protection of the workers.

“The companies vaccinated their crew,” Amosup Eduardo R. Santos said in an SMS.

To note, the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF) included outbound overseas Filipino workers (OFW) in the A1 priority group, which includes frontline health-care workers, to get vaccination to ensure they will be protected against Covid-19 abroad.

As of December 26, 2021, the Department of Health (DOH) reported there are now 2.84 million vaccinated individuals in the A4 category, who got their first Covid-19 jab, and another 2.79 million who are fully inoculated against Covid-19.

During the weekend, the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention said it was monitoring 67 cruise ships with reported Covid-19 cases among its crew or passengers.

Of these, eight have 10 to 55 Covid-19 cases, while the rest have at least seven infected individuals.

Filipino Association for Mariners’ Employment Inc. (FAME) Executive Secretary Maria Daphnie V. Vargas expressed concern over the trend.

“While there are cases rising in cruise ships and in general it is a concern, unfortunately we don’t have the data,” Vargas said in a SMS.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it has yet to get any report of any Filipino seafarer in the cruise ships, which are being monitored by the CDC.