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Port Canaveral first US port to sponsor COVID-19 vaccination program for workers

The announcement comes days after Florida's surgeon general said vaccinations in the state are now open to people who don't live in Florida.

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. — In a move that could help cruise ships set sail soon from the Sunshine State, Port Canaveral announced it is the first U.S. port to provide COVID-19 vaccinations to its workers and cruise ship members. 

In a release Friday, the port said it implemented its plan after Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees announced the state department of health would expand COVID-19 vaccine eligibility beyond just people who live in Florida. Under the new advisory, people who are in Florida to provide "goods or services for the benefit of residents and visitors." 

“We have been working closely with our cruise partners, the Florida Department of Health, and our port community to come up with a plan and timeline of vaccinating cruise ship crews that could begin the process for a safe return to cruising,” Capt. John Murray, Port CEO said in a statement. “This expanded eligibility is significantly important for our cruise tourism business, and we’re proud of our efforts to help get this industry up and running.”

The port says it developed its vaccination model by working with the Parrish Healthcare Center at Cape Canaveral, Canaveral Fire Rescue and cruise lines medical personnel. 

Up to 1,000 COVID-19 vaccine shots will be available per day to cruise ship crew members and shoreside and waterside support personnel. 

The announcement also comes days after the CDC released new guidance that would allow cruise ships to sail as early as mid-July, provided that 98 percent of crew members and 95 percent of passengers were vaccinated against COVID-19. 

RELATED: Florida surgeon general: Fully-vaccinated people shouldn't be advised to wear masks, avoid crowds anymore

RELATED: Report: Cruises could restart this summer under CDC guidance

RELATED: Law experts: It's legal for cruise lines to ask for proof of vaccination, even if they sail in Florida

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