Hon Malone told Virgin Island News Online (VINO) that the target date is December 31, 2021, amidst rising infections in the territory.
The Minister, in a September 20, 2021, update, said, “COVID-19 cases have now been reported in our schools, our health care facilities, government departments, statutory bodies, and private companies.”
“Each time new cases are discovered our public health team must decide on mitigating measures to lessen the likelihood of the virus being transmitted throughout the organisation and the wider community.”
Hon Malone said, to date, the vaccination rate stands at 49.2 %, representing 14,764 persons being registered as fully vaccinated.
"Another 2,629 persons await their second doses, which once completed, the number of persons being fully vaccinated will be 57.9%, representing 17,393 persons,” he said.
Further, Hon Malone detailed that in the era of COVID-19, decisions must be taken to balance lives and livelihoods, “The challenge that we now face, is what is the most effective and proven method of reducing the number of persons being hospitalised and dying as a result of the COVID-19 virus?”
Currently, the minister said, vaccination remains the one proven procedure to protect against the virus as the VI continues to re-open its ports, accepts cruise ship calls, and re-open schools and businesses.
He reminded that vaccinations will not only offer protection against the virus but will also lessen the occurrence of hospitalisation and deaths, as well protect elders and the vulnerable persons in the territory.