Henry was at the time speaking as a telephone guest on this morning’s Thursday, June 10, 2021, edition of the ‘Da Morning Braff’ hosted by Floyd Burnett aka 'Heritage'.
In the now branded ‘fake news’ 284 Media article with headline ‘BVI government to make vaccines mandatory for all frontline workers including teachers or be subject to a bi-monthly COVID-19 test, CEO informs education stakeholders,” Henry said that the media organisation should quote its sources.
Henry also indicated that the reporting had contradicted the Government’s known position on the issue.
“My Government said there are not right now considering mandatory vaccination for anybody, frontline or not, so I believe that… I haven’t seen it done, I haven’t seen any paperwork from Cabinet, from the Government, so I believe that,” he said.
“284 Media will have to declare where they got their source from, I think if you’re going to bring responsible journalism then quote your source,” he said.
In its article, 284 Media said that education stakeholders, including school principals, on June 9, 2021, were told by the acting Chief Education Officer, Connie E. George of the Government’s alleged plan for mandatory vaccinations, however, it neither quoted Mrs George nor stated whether it had sought confirmation from alternative sources.
Since being declared 'Fake news', Premier Andrew A. Fahie (R1) in a statement last evening June 9, 2021, also refuted the claims by indicating that the Government has not approved such a policy, neither has Cabinet.
284 Media indicated that they stand by their reporting; however, Mrs George has also refuted the claims, telling Virgin Islands News Online (VINO), "[I] made no such statement".
According to Premier Fahie, “Your Government remains resolute to date, to not make mandatory the taking of vaccines. We have always stated that it is each person's choice whether they want to be vaccinated or not.”
Health Minister, Hon Carvin Malone (AL) also refuted the reporting via a Facebook comment, saying: "Vaccines are not mandatory, and will not be mandatory.”
It is not the first time 284 Media has created public frenzy by publishing misinformation.
On March 19, 2021, 284 Media reported that two bodies were found with gunshot wounds at the Frenchman's Cay bridge.
The news site had published false information circulating on social media without seeking verification from authorities.
It later adjusted its story to say the reports were fake.