British Virgin Islands

Tuesday, Jun 22, 2021

About-turn? Cabinet to now consider mandatory vaccination

About-turn? Cabinet to now consider mandatory vaccination

Just as the territory is expected to reopen its borders fully in the coming weeks, the government will now be considering whether mandatory vaccination should be implemented locally.
Speaking on the Virgin Islands Party’s Let’s Talk radio programme last evening (May 4), Health Minister Carvin Malone said “it is a subject Cabinet will have to explore [and] examine”.

“One needs only to look throughout the region, throughout the world and see what is happening,” Malone stated.

He was responding to a question from a member of the public who enquired whether mandatory vaccines will be given to work permit holders as is being done in some nearby jurisdictions.

Malone posited that this (countries implementing mandatory vaccine policies) might be as a result of their healthcare system “being strained”.

As for the BVI, he said: “Visitors coming in for the first time; I would suspect that Cabinet will be looking at that at its very first entrance. But we also have to look around the world — those of us who are residing here. We must protect the entire economy,” he stated.

The Health Minister said no particular group — whether nationals, expats, or visitors — is being singled out, and as such, is telling everyone 18 and over to get vaccinated now.

Previously, Premier Fahie said mandatory vaccination isn’t a route his government is willing to take.

“I am aware that member states within the region are seeking to amend their public health laws to make it mandatory for some sector of employees to be vaccinated. It is not our intention to make it mandatory. I repeat, it is not our intention to make it mandatory, but it is our intention not to have the vaccines expire while in our possession if others can do with it,” the Premier said in a statement early last month.

Premier Fahie, who was present at the forum last evening, did not offer a comment on the matter.

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