The British Virgin Islands is likely to receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines in late January 2021 into early February.
Health Minister Carvin Malone gave that indication while speaking as a guest on the Honestly Speaking radio programme recently.
He said the territory will be receiving the vaccine from two sources. The first is a donation from the United Kingdom while the second will be procured by the government of the Virgin Islands from the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) in Trinidad & Tobago.
“The fact is that the UK has graciously made an offer through the Governor’s Office for us to have our set of vaccines; Pfizer – the one that requires the sub-zero and the particular temperature controls … As you may have heard announcements in Anguilla, they’re ready to roll it out in January in Caymans; we were a bit tardy in terms of getting the notice out. We have assurance that our supply would be flown in,” the minister said.
“We have another supply through CARPHA and through the regional body so we have two sources of vaccinations that we’ve already paid for. The UK is basically donating to us or allotting to us the first set that we talked about. We’ve actually looked in terms of between 75,000 to 100,000 units of the other kit coming from WHO,” he added.
To assist with reducing the fear that presently exists in the territory regarding taking the vaccine, Malone said he will lead by example and get vaccinated.
He said: “Yes, by the time it reaches in late January we’ll have some examples of it. I have no problems taking it because we have to lead by example. It will be a choice that persons have whether or not they take it, so if we have to lead by example, yes, I’ll take it.”
Malone further said that while there is a fear surrounding getting COVID-19 vaccines, vaccinations have always been required for other diseases long before this present pandemic.
“Vaccination is something that has been troubled in terms of a number of persons. From the time a mother gives birth, there’s actually vaccination — a whole slew of vaccinations that are taking place for smallpox, chickenpox, measles, mumps and so forth,” the minister said.
He added: “We know that all of those [diseases] you have to have on your vaccination card. There are some places you can’t travel unless you’re vaccinated for certain diseases.”
The territory presently has a total of nine active COVID-19 cases; all of which are imported.