Employees of the state-owned BVI Health Services Authority (BVIHSA) are now required to get tested for COVID-19 biweekly (every two weeks) if they decline to get vaccinated.
This policy becomes effective today, Friday, August 20. And according to Health Minister Carvin Malone, the policy will be re-evaluated in two to three months.
In the meantime, testing costs for unvaccinated staff will be absorbed by the organisation for the initial period.
The BVIHSA said they’ve implemented this policy, which they’ve described as a “dual-strata approach”, because of the recent discovery of the highly transmissible Delta variant of COVID-19 in the BVI.
“One stratum, advocates for vaccination, and the other option provides a compliance pathway for members of staff who are averse to being vaccinated,” the Authority said in a press statement on Friday.
“Staff members who have reservations about taking the vaccine
due to medical, religious or other personal reasons, may opt for the second option. This stratum, requires that said staff member agrees to be tested for the COVID 19
virus biweekly. Such frequent testing is essential as a risk management measure for members of staff and the patients that we care for,” it added.
The BVIHSA further said its new policy will minimise the impact of the virus on the organisation and community.
Additionally, it said the policy serves as an extra layer of protection against this strain of the virus or any other emerging mutation.