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Protecting Essential Maritime Workers with Vaccines 

June 7, 2021

By Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Managing Director, Port of Seattle Maritime Division; and Taylor Pellizzari, Discovery Health MD

During COVID-19, essential services performed by maritime workers in our region and around the world have kept commerce moving, products loaded and delivered, and the economy running during a time of great uncertainty. This work is more important than ever as we move forward toward an equitable recovery. 

This spring, the Port of Seattle worked with the Washington Department of Health, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and Safeway/Albertsons to operate an on-site COVID-19 vaccination clinic serving transportation workers at SEA Airport, distributing 7,846 total vaccines over eight weeks. 

Learning from these successes, the Port partnered with Discovery Health MD and the Washington Department of Health to bring vaccinations directly to maritime workers.

Discovery Health MD, which provides medical services for commercial maritime industry in locations around the world, has supported the maritime industry in Seattle with COVID-19 testing services since April 2020. The company also operated a COVID-19 testing site at SEA Airport from November 2020 to June 2021. 

Boarding Arrow Launch Services
Discovery Health MD's mobile vaccine team boards Arrow Launch Services, which is donating launch rides for the team to the ships they are serving. Photo credit: Dr. Ann Jarris, Discovery Health MD. 

Administering vaccines is Discovery Health MD’s latest step in serving the maritime industry during the pandemic. Employees have administered over 11,000 vaccines since they began providing immunizations in December 2020.

“Providing vaccinations is just one way Discovery Health MD works towards our mission of bringing mariners home safely. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic we have worked towards keeping the maritime community healthy by providing equitable access to healthcare. Through our various multi-county testing and vaccination operations we are hoping to reduce the risk among crewmembers and bring maritime operations back to pre-COVID norms,” said Taylor Pellizzari, Director of Vaccine Operations at Discovery Health MD. 

"Through the Port's partnership with Discovery Health MD, we are bringing vaccinations onsite to workers in the fishing and cargo sectors. We are prioritizing the health and safety of workers who have helped us maintain essential operations during the pandemic and whose efforts will continue to be critical as we work toward a full recovery of our local and regional economy," said Stephanie Jones Stebbins, Managing Director of Maritime at the Port of Seattle.

Discovery Health crew
Pictured: Discovery Health MD's mobile vaccine team. Photo credit: Dr. Ann Jarris, Discovery Health MD.

Here’s more on the collaboration between the Port and Discovery Health MD to vaccinate frontline maritime workers:

Fishing and general maritime

  • Administering vaccines at Terminal 91 to professional mariners, prioritizing Trawl Fleet crew members as they prepare to depart May 15 for hake season (off the Washington coast), followed by the season B pollock season in Alaska
  • Providing vaccinations for the over 10,000 professional mariners at Terminal 91 and in the Port of Dutch Harbor, Alaska by: 
    • Operating a five day a week vaccine clinic at their clinic space on Pier 90, with the capability to provide Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines. Over 3,000 doses have been administered as of June 1.
    • Coordinating first and second doses for the migratory fishing workforce both at their Pier 90 location and through mobile clinics throughout the Puget Sound Region
    • Standing up a mobile vaccine operation for the fishing fleet and the commercial fish processing employees in Dutch Harbor. More than 2,000 doses delivered as of June 1.

Crew getting vaccinated
Discovery Health MD's mobile vaccine team provides vaccines to the crew of the Spar Vega, a Norwegian flagged ship. Photo credit: Dr. Ann Jarris, Discovery Health MD


  • Administering Johnson & Johnson vaccines to domestic and foreign flagged vessel crews in both harbors. The Seattle Mission to Seafarers and the Tacoma Seafarers Center are coordinating and performing outreach through vessel agents
  • Vaccinating the crews of three vessels in the South harbor — onboard vessels and at the Seafarer’s Center.  Two crew vessels in the North harbor received vaccinations onboard vessels and at Pier 90
  • Hosting a Pierce County Department of Emergency Management vaccination clinic for Port of Tacoma and Northwest Seaport (NWSA) employees and extended outreach to customers and stakeholders
  • Discovery Health MD has conducted at least two vaccination clinics at the Longshore Union Halls in both Tacoma (Local 23) and Seattle (Local 19) 


  • Cruise ships sailing out of Seattle with 95 percent of both the crew and passengers fully vaccinated can forgo simulated voyages otherwise mandated by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Most cruise lines hoping to sail out of Seattle this summer are intending to follow that path. Reaching that goal would enable cruise lines to start operating out of Seattle in late July and early August. Port staff and cruise lines are collaborating on the feasibility of crew vaccinations

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