He insisted that current health protocols in place to combat the virus – mask-wearing, social distancing, hand washing, cough etiquette and hand hygiene – continue to work and are the very basic things that everyone needs to do.
“We can’t continue to have lockdowns and closures and all of these things. We have to live, we have an economy that we have to sustain,” the CMO said.
According to Dr Georges, COVID is obviously not going away and has been a constant battle.
He advised that while the virus continues to mutate and develop new variants, vaccination is another key tool to battle the virus.
With government relaxing measures and now allowing some businesses to reopen, Dr Georges said this will increase gathering sizes.
“What this is doing, is we are putting the responsibility back to the population,” he said.
Despite this, he reminded persons that officials will continue to be stepping up enforcement measures.
According to Health Minister Carvin Malone, these will include the Royal Virgin Islands Police Force and the Social Distancing Task Force conducting spot-checks at business establishments.
The CMO also noted that there was a considerable body of evidence available on the effectiveness of vaccination and how it is able to reduce hospitalisation, severe disease and death as well as reducing the burden of disease.
He also pointed to evidence that shows the vaccine significantly reduces the rates of transmission – despite the fact that persons can still get sick and transmit COVID-19 if vaccinated.
Dr Georges said the probability of transmission is reduced by as much as 75% for persons who are vaccinated.
Further, the probability of becoming sick – contracting a mild illness – is reduced by as much as 60-90 percent for vaccinated persons depending on the vaccine and the dosing schedule, Dr Georges said.
He said officials are trying to get to a stage where the virus can no longer be propagated within the territory and this can best be done through vaccination efforts being layered with existing public health measures.