The Government is facing an uphill battle to get the local population to undertake the COVID-19 vaccine, a critical element towards the Territory reopening plans.
Minister of Health and Social Development, Hon. Carvin Malone has indicated that as at March 23, approximately only 7,000 first doses have been administered to the elderly, medical, uniformed and frontline staff and to those of in the territory who have willingly consented.
"BVI residents of other nationalities have agreed and in large percentages have predominantly been vaccinated. Our local population have been rather hesitant and only a small percentage have agreed and have been vaccinated. A community outreach committee has been formed and has been purposed to educate and inform all residents of the importance and benefits of being vaccinated," the Minister stated.
He stated that while nations around the world are searching and crying out for adequate supply of vaccines
and can find no answers, the BVI is on track to receive 32,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine
from the United Kingdom.
"As at today March 25th, the BVI received 20,000 doses of vaccines
and the UK has indicated that on March 31st a further 12,000 doses of vaccine
and relevant supplies will be delivered. In total, by April 2nd 2021, BVI would have received 32,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine
from the UK. The expiration dates on these vaccines
are May 31st and June 30th 2021," the Minister stated.
The Government has signalled its intent to at least review and possibly relax the current Covid
-19 measures provided that there is widespread vaccination of residents.
Minister of Health and Social Development, Hon. Carvin Malone told the House of Assembly on March 10 that it is exceedingly important for as many persons as possible to be vaccinated as quickly as possible so that the Territory can move and reap the benefits of vaccination.
"We are aware of the concept of herd immunity where if we have sufficient persons vaccinated, we will interrupt the ability of COVID
to be transmitted through our population," the Minister stated.
Further, Minister Malone added, "Widespread vaccination within the Territory will also allow us to seriously review our current protocols and look at less onerous entry measures. This even more that we begin to look to advance the process of the re-opening of our ocean borders on 15th April. The U.S. CDC [Center for Disease Control] has already recommended that persons who are vaccinated do not need to quarantine after potential exposure to the Coronavirus
and also that vaccinated persons can gather in small settings without masks and other measures."
He explained to the House that the first dose of vaccine
affords very high efficacy against COVID
of the order of 76% in the short term against symptomatic COVID
and 63.9% when including both asymptomatic and symptomatic COVID