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Concerning! Low vaccination rate in high risk group in VI– National Epidemiologist

Concerning! Low vaccination rate in high risk group in VI– National Epidemiologist

The low vaccination rate seen in residents 60 years and up, who are most at risk of hospitalisation or even death due to COVID-19, is a concern for health officials in the [British] Virgin Islands (VI).

This is according to National Epidemiologist Harmonie Massiah who was part of a panel of health officials being interviewed by Government Information Service (GIS) on Thursday, May 27, 2021.

“Now regarding the high-risk population of those 60 and above, only 36.5 per cent has received at least one dose of the vaccine. Now that’s concerning to us because we know that age, especially coupled with pre-existing health conditions, increases your risk of severe disease, hospitalization and premature death. For example, persons in their 60’s or 70’s have a greater risk of death hospitalisation and severe symptoms than those in their 50’s and 40’s,” she stated.

Massiah said as of May 23, 2021, some 16,759 doses of the vaccine were administered in the territory, and approximately 11,648 were first dose vaccinations.

“Which means 38.3 per cent of the population and 5,111 second dose vaccinations, meaning that 17 per cent of the population is fully vaccinated,” she said.

She also pointed out that “these numbers are likely to be an underestimation simply because we had a number of persons from the territory who went abroad and got Pfizer and Moderna and Johnson and Johnson. Also, the baseline population we used to calculate these figures might be an overestimation, we really don’t know how many people we have in the population since Irma.”

National Epidemiologist Harmonie Massiah said only 36.5 per cent of persons in the high-risk population of those 60 years and over has received at least one dose of the vaccine.

Only mild side effects of vaccine in territory

The National Epidemiologist also reported that the side effects of the vaccine in the territory have been mild.

“The most prevalent being achy feelings, headache, chills, fatigue, pain and itching at the injection site. We have not to date have any reported cases of severe disease, and we are asking the community, if you have had any rare side effects like diarrhoea, vomiting, blood clots, please report to Public Health so that we can then come back again and inform the public so that they can be further educated,” she urged.

Messiah also said the dominant percentage of persons being vaccinated are males in the 35 to 50 age group.


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