The Ghana Industrial Trawlers Association (GITA) has rolled out modalities to vaccinate 2,000 Seafarers at the Tema Fishing Harbour as a means to mitigate the spread of COVID-19, which has affected the fishing industry negativity.
The Seafarers COVID-19 Vaccination exercise is being undertaking by GITA in collaboration with the National Fisheries Association of Ghana (NAFAG) as a managerial initiative to cater for the welfare of seafarers at the Tema Fishing Harbour.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency at the Port, Mr. Peter Stephen Adjokatcher, GITA acting President, said it was the responsibility of the Association to ensure that all seafarers were protected and in good health before departing to the sea for fishing.
"We are making sure that we don't only allow our seafarers just go to sea without taking care of their welfare and good health," he said.
Mr Adjokatcher added that, GITA therefore took the initiative to collaborate with the Ministry of Fisheries and Aquaculture Development and the Ghana Health Service to get 2,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines to vaccinate all seafarers at the Harbour to help fight the virus.
He said the vaccines were provided at the doorstep of the seafarers as a strategy to get them vaccinated within a time frame without any difficulty hence the administering of the vaccines at the fishing harbour.
Mr Gilbert Sam, GITA Office Manager, explained that the exercise had become necessary to adequately prepare the seafarers and ensure they were medically sound before deploying them on the Ghana sea.
He added that the virus had affected a lot of seafarers, which had a huge negative effect on the fishing industry at its peak as a global pandemic.
"We realised that some of the seafarers were getting infected and also spreading it due to the nature of the work," he said.
Mr Sam said although GITA adhered strictly to the safety measures by frequently testing and isolating infected persons, it came with a huge debt which increased operational cost and reduced time spent at the shore, hence the need to take advantage of the vaccines to prevent unforeseen circumstances.
He applauded the NAFAG, Ghana Tuna Association, Ghana Inshore Fishermen Association, and other stakeholders and regulators such as the Fisheries Commission and the Ministry of Fisheries and Ghana Health Service through the Tema Metropolitan Health Directorate for their unflinching support and cooperation.
Mr Sam encouraged all well-meaning Ghanaians to get vaccinated to make Ghana a safe place to live, adding that, "it is good to protect yourself than not having any protection at all".