SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Sharp HealthCare is making it easy for cruise ship employees from all over the world to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told cruise lines, cruises can return as early as mid-July if 98 percent of crew members and 95 percent of passengers are fully vaccinated. Cruise lines can also choose to go with a lengthier option, which included running a test cruise.
“The Carnival Corporation did reach out to us, our team at Sharp Healthcare, and asked us if we would be able to coordinate an effort to provide COVID-19 vaccinations for their crew members,” said Elizabeth Catton, Vice President of Sharp Healthcare’s Global Patient Services and Out-of-Network teams.
Sharp, which has a long-standing partnership to provide medical services for cruise lines, agreed to give the vaccinations. “They’ll be receiving their vaccination either on land or on the ship,” said Catton.
Catton said Sharp would be vaccinating nearly 450 crew members from three ships.
The first crew to be vaccinated will be onboard Holland America Line’s Koningsdam, which will arrive in San Diego Wednesday morning at the Port of San Diego’s B Street Cruise Terminal. Sharp said 126 crew members will get their first dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine. Sharp’s team will later travel by boat to the Royal Princess, which will be anchored off the San Diego coast.
There they’ll vaccinate 144 crew members. On Thursday, the crew will do the same thing to vaccinate about 179 crew members on Holland America Line’s Noordam.
Catton said the crew members will return to San Diego 17 to 21 days later for the second dose.
“We’re excited and pleased to be part of this community effort and support that return to the new normal,” she said.
Adam Deaton, the Port of San Diego’s Cruise Business Manager, said about 164 cruises were canceled during the pandemic, creating an economic loss of about $280 million.
“That touches all sorts of industries from transportation, dock workers, security, retail, restaurants,” he explained. “With the vaccine, it really brings us towards an ability to reopen.”
He said the vaccines bring new hope that cruise ships could be sailing out of San Diego this fall and possibly as early as this summer.
“It’s been a long time since anyone has been able to cruise, so I think people are going to be ready to set sail,” he said.
A spokesperson for Holland America tells ABC 10news the Koningsdam will begin its first season homeporting in San Diego on Oct. 24 for cruises to Mexico and Hawaii.