“Persons who, by choice, elect not to receive a COVID-19 vaccine will not have annual work permits renewed and will be required to leave the islands,” read an announcement from the territory’s governor Nigel J. Dakin, reported on the Visit TCI tourism website.
According to Cayman Compass today, April 26, 2021, as of April 18, 2021, 15,674 people – around 35% of the population of TCI– had received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Like Cayman Islands, Virgin Islands, and other British Overseas Territories, the Turks and Caicos Islands have received support from the UK for its vaccination programme.
Along with Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, the Caribbean island group was in the first wave to receive the early batches of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine from the UK.
Turks and Caicos has been open to tourists since July, without quarantine measures. Pre-arrival testing is required. The islands have had 2,376 cases and 17 deaths since the beginning of the outbreak.
It is the first British territory to introduce any kind of measure to compel people to take the vaccine.
Cayman Islands authorities have previously indicated that getting immunised against the virus will be voluntary, though they have encouraged everyone who is eligible to get the jab.
Meanwhile, in the [British] Virgin Islands, just over 9400 persons of the some 30,000 population have received at least one dose of the AstraZeneca jab.
Nevertheless, Premier and Minister of Finance Hon Andrew A. Fahie (R1) has said his government will not force anyone to take COVID-19 vaccines; however, he said the vaccinated will be the ones benefitting as the economy reopens.
“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 expired while in our possession, if others can do with it,” Premier Fahie had said in a COVID-19 update on April 8, 2021.
The Premier had also said vaccination is the best bet in the fight against COVID-19 and allowing the VI to reopen its economy quicker.
“It is time for us to fully reopen our borders, reopen our ports, return to full-time schools. All these can be accomplished sooner, based on our decisions to vaccinate or not!
“The most credible option to rebound our economy at this time is the vaccines. This will ensure the safety of our people and the economy of the Virgin Islands as much as humanly possible,” Premier Fahie had said.