Vaccinating the crew of the merchant freighter, Crystal, was an adventure

Michael Burton, Public Health Emergency Preparedness Assistant at Coos Health & Wellness, took part in an unusual vaccine clinic earlier this month.

“We were approached by a stevedoring company who said that they’d have a ship in, and could we vaccinate some of the crew.”

Michael took three volunteers from the Coos County Medical Reserve Corps—two to administer shots and one to do the paperwork — down to the docks.

“When we got to the dock, we learned we’d be going aboard,” says Burton. The ship was the merchant freighter, Crystal. Getting aboard was an adventure. The vaccination team had to climb “a stairway suspended on a rope bridge about 30 feet up, so our volunteers definitely had an interesting time going up and down it.”

The clinic took place in the officer’s dining hall and they vaccinated about 20 people, all Chinese nationals, with Johnson & Johnson.

“The folks we vaccinated were all super-psyched to get an American vaccine,” says Burton. “They were all posting on WhatsApp about it.  I think our vaccines are starting to be taken for granted. It was interesting to see the perspective of people who were really clamoring to get this.”

These vaccinations don’t get added to Coos County totals. “But,” says Burton, “these guys will be up and down the coast and will be going into many ports of call. So globally this is an improvement and indirectly it should make the U.S. and Oregon safer.”

They’ve had more requests to vaccinate ship’s crews but will probably be on the dock next time.