DONALD WOOD FEBRUARY 05, 2021
A Swiss cruise ship limited by travel restrictions has been transformed into a COVID-19 vaccination center.
According to Reuters, regional officials announced the 500-passenger MS Thurgau will serve as a floating inoculation hub for northern Swiss towns Romanshorn, Arbon and Kreuzlingen over the next several weeks.
The 89-year-old vessel will be tasked with hosting doctors and healthcare workers who will administer the vaccine to thousands of residents along Lake Constance. Local officials said the ship is ideal for serving harbor towns, with some calling the MS Thurgau “vaccine vaporetto.
The vessel will be able to vaccinate 24 people per hour at two shot stations onboard, but the plans are to expand the center to eight stations as more vaccines arrive in Switzerland.
“I’ve heard of a fondue ship, and a spaghetti ship, but this is my first shot ship,” Switzerland’s Health Minister Alain Berset told Reuters.
During the first week of service, MS Thurgau will be stationed in Romanshorn before moving to Kreuzlingen for two weeks. The ship will then sail to Arbon for a week and then return to Romanshorn to begin administering the required booster shots.
The floating vaccination center is scheduled to sail for 12 weeks and officials remain hopeful it won’t be needed beyond that period. Organizer Adriano Mari said he hopes “things will have eased and the ship can return to carrying passengers on its regular route.”