Vaccination Programme for Seafarers

Everything you need to know!


On 12 May 2021, the Royal Association of Netherlands Shipowners (KVNR) has issued a press release announcing the Netherlands Vaccination Programme for Seafarers. The programme is expected to start by mid June and will run for several months. This planning is still on track. The application procedure for vaccinations is scheduled to open on June 9th 2021 in the afternoon. On this page:

Why does the work of seafarers matter?

Vaccination programme instruction to employers

The vaccination programme for seafarers has been launched. the first vaccinations have been administered on June 15th, 2021. If you are a shipowner or ship manager managing qualifying ships under this programme, please check back on this webpage on a daily basis. You will be able to apply on behalf of your eligible seafarers to receive a vaccination under this programme. Start by downloading and reading the instruction below (pdf). The hyperlinks will be available after downloading the pdf. Application instruction starts from page 11.

Latest updates

The vaccination programme for seafarers has been launched on June 9th. If you are a shipowner or ship manager managing qualifying ships under this programme, please see the instruction above and check back on this webpage on a daily basis for updates. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Since the announcement of the vaccination programme for seafarers, Nautilus International, the KVNR, the Dutch Association of Dredging Contractors, and the Dutch branch of the Pelagic Freezer-trawler Association have received a lot of questions about the execution, procedures, eligibility and all kinds of practical details. We have listed the Frequently Asked Questions below.

I am a seafarer, what do I have to do to get vaccinated against COVID-19?

If your employer participates in the programme, he will invite you to receive a vaccination under this programme. Upon your consent and eligibility check, your employer will schedule a vaccination appointment and keep you informed.

What are the eligibility conditions for vaccinations?

The vaccination programme is exclusively intended for active seafarers, regardless of their nationality or place of residence, who are working on board seagoing Dutch-flagged or Dutch-managed vessels. Registration takes place via your employer who will send you an invitation, together with a declaration of no objection to be completed by you, and a questionnaire about your health.

When can I get vaccinated?

The vaccination programme starts from the moment the Dutch government make the vaccines available to the sector. This is expected to be mid-June. Until that moment, we continue to work hard to set up the systems to ensure that the vaccination process can run as efficiently as possible.

Where can I be vaccinated?

The choice of location of vaccination depends on the situation and this decision will be made in consultation with the employer. The KVNR has made agreements with two private parties about where the vaccinations will be offered. The designated locations are:

  • Groningen Seaports; on board the ship or at an onshore location.
  • Port of Amsterdam; on board the ship or at an onshore location.
  • Port of Rotterdam; on board the ship or at an onshore location.
  • North Sea Port (Vlissingen, Terneuzen); on board the ship or at an onshore location
  • Schiphol airport: the transit zone and Schiphol East.
Which vaccine will be used for this programme?

In all cases, the so-called Janssen vaccine will be used. This is a vaccine that requires only one vaccination.

It is the employers who have to submit the requests for vaccination on behalf of their seafarer employees. The location of vaccination depends on the situation at that time. Are you signing on in Rotterdam, for example? Then it is obvious that the vaccination will take place there. If you are flying via Schiphol, that would be the most suitable location. Until then, it wouldn’t hurt to let your employer know in advance that you would like to be vaccinated, so that this can be taken into account in the planning.

I recently heard in the news that the Janssen vaccine is not recommended for people younger than 44 years. Am I still eligible for the vaccine?

The Netherlands is in the privileged position of being able to choose from various vaccines. The fact that the Dutch government now appears to be scaling down the use of the Janssen vaccine in its national vaccination strategy does not affect its use for the vaccination programme for seafarers.

In certain cases, such as for difficult-to-reach target groups, the Dutch Health Council says that it is wise to offer the Janssen vaccine because people are immediately fully vaccinated with one injection. Health minister De Jonge will follow these recommendations.

Is the vaccination compulsory?

No, vaccination under this programme is not compulsory, although it is encourage to accept the vaccination.

The regular national vaccination programme in the Netherlands is going well. Should I choose that? Or should I go for the seafarers’ vaccination programme?

The vaccination programme for seafarers is a supplement to the regular Dutch vaccination programme and does not replace it. Therefore, you can choose which programme suits your situation best. For example, if the national vaccination programme offers the Janssen vaccine and if that falls within your period of shore leave, then that seems to be the best option. If the national programme offers a vaccine that has to be given twice and there is uncertainty about whether both dates coincide with your periods of shore leave, opting for the seafarers’ programme would be the best option. Of course there may also be situations where you cannot participate in the national programme because of your regular sailing/leave schedule. In that case, it is a good idea to get in touch with your employer to see if a small alteration can be made to your work schedule.

I am currently at sea and will not be relieved for two months. Will I still be able to use the Janssen vaccine under the seafarers' vaccination programme?

The government has pledged a total of around 50,000 Janssen vaccines for the seafarers' programme. The first batch is expected to be delivered in the second half of June. Because it is impossible for all seafarers eligible for vaccination to be in the Netherlands at the same time, it was decided to carry out a programme with a lead-time of several months. It is not yet clear exactly how many months, but, looking at the usual deployment periods of Dutch seafarers, the programme should be available to anyone who wants.

Because of the lockdown, I am still stuck on board in Taiwan at the moment. I read the news that seafarers will get their Janssen vaccine in June. I was wondering if we will get a call for that, or if we should register somewhere ourselves?

The Dutch government is making the vaccinations available free of charge to the KVNR, which in turn will make agreements with the organisations about where and when vaccinations will take place. The first vaccines are expected to be available from mid-June. To be eligible for a vaccine, your employer must submit a request for you and your colleagues. The reason for this way of working is to make it possible to monitor any abuse of the scheme, and also to keep the administrative burden on the organisations needing vaccinations to a minimum. Furthermore, it is your employer who has to pay for the costs of the vaccination. If your employer wishes to participate in the programme, they will inform you about this shortly. In anticipation of this, you can of course already let your employer know that you would like to be vaccinated.

The ships of my shipping company do not sail under the Dutch flag, nor do they fall under Dutch management; mainly Luxembourg, Mauritius and Belgium. However, the manning of the ships is organised from the Netherlands. Does this count as being ‘under Dutch management’? Or does the management only concern the ships themselves?

In this case, you are unfortunately not eligible for vaccination from the Dutch programme. The programme is based on ships. If the ship flies a Dutch flag, or if the ship is managed from the Netherlands, you are eligible for the programme as a seafarer.

I work for a shipping company that, as far as I can tell, is not a member of the KVNR. How do I qualify for the vaccination?

The vaccination programme is intended for seafarers on board seagoing vessels sailing either under the Dutch flag or under Dutch management. This primarily involves merchant shipping, dredging and trawler fishing. An employer’s membership of the KVNR (as coordinator of the vaccination programme) or another branch association or trade union is not necessary for this!

Is the programme also open to apprentices?

If you are an apprentice who is affiliated with a ship that falls under the conditions of the programme, you also are able to use the programme. The vaccine is available from the age of 18.




Nathan Habers 150.JPG
Press inquiries


Nathan Habers
Public Relations

+31 10 2176 264

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