Vaccination against COVID-19 may start before the end of this year. File Image / Pixabay
Seafarers should be an early priority for coronavirus vaccination programmes, according to the International Maritime Organization (IMO).
The United Nations General Assembly has called on member states in a resolution adopted Tuesday to designate seafarers as key workers and to implement measures to allow crew changes.
Commenting on the resolution, IMO Secretary General Kitack Lim suggested this should include priority access to any coronavirus vaccines that become available.
"Sadly, hundreds of thousands of seafarers, who are vital to maintaining supply chains, remain stranded at sea for months beyond their contracted time," Lim said in an emailed statement Tuesday.
"I hope that the key worker designation will ensure that seafarers can be vaccinated expeditiously.
"This will go some way to resolving the ongoing crew change crisis."