Hundreds of cruise ship crew members began getting their COVID-19 shot Wednesday morning at the Port of San Diego, making it the first port in California to offer vaccines to such workers.
Sharp HealthCare is offering the 126 interested cruise ship employees doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at the Port of San Diego’s B Street Terminal, it announced. Holland America Line’s Koningsdam has been docked at the port for the occasion and two other cruise ships will also get interested crew members inoculated, as well.
“When they heard that we were going through San Diego for the vaccination, it was a big morale boost," Capt. Hank Draper told NBC 7.
The Royal Princess is anchored off San Diego’s coast so a team from Sharp HealthCare will travel by boat to administer the vaccine to 144 crew members aboard the ship. On Thursday, another vaccine team will travel by boat to Holland America Line’s Noordam ship to inoculate 179 crew members.
“When they shared that opportunity with us, everyone said yes, we’ll do it. We’ll come to you. We want to make this happen,” said Elizabeth Catton, Vice President, Global Patient Services and Out of Network, Sharp HealthCare.
Joel Valenzuela, Port of San Diego's Maritime Director, said this is just the beginning of getting cruise ships back on track in the U.S. -- something he predicted will be a "welcomed addition."
“We’ve spent a lot of resources and effort, staff time as well as political will to make this area really great for San Diegans and visitors, as well," Valenzuela said.
In three weeks, the cruise ships will return to San Diego so vaccinated employees can get their second dose of the shot.