As of May 13, 2021, 14,801 AstraZeneca vaccines administered were administered in the Virgin Islands (VI), with 3765 fully vaccinated.
“Mr Speaker, without apology, it is the government intention to intensify the education process aimed at encouraging the remaining 5964 persons to be voluntarily vaccinated at any of the public and private centres throughout the territory by May 31, 2021,” Hon Malone said in a statement during the Ninth Sitting of the Third Session of the Fourth House of Assembly of the Virgin Islands held at Save the Seed Energy Centre in Duff’s Bottom on May 13, 2021.
Following May 31, 2021, an assessment, according to the Health Minister, will be made in relation to the remaining doses “of which I hope there will be none.”
He said for the next 18 days, all hands and voices will be required to assist in the ambitious vaccination goal.
“Our approach will continue to anger some anti-vaxxers and overnight radio show medical experts but it is our duty to be steadfast in purpose in this regard,” Hon Malone said.
The Health Minister has blamed the hesitancy of many to get vaccinated on anti-vaxxers who have made it a duty to dissuade persons from being inoculated, including by labelling the vaccine as the ‘Mark of the Beast’ and designed to depopulate the earth.
According to Hon Malone, the COVID-19 pandemic continues to accelerate and the VI is deeply saddened by rising death tolls as health systems and economies far and near buckle under the strain of second and third waves of infection.
He said; however, while the VI continues its phased reopening to international travelers it must be mindful and cognizant of the realities in the region and around the world.
“Mr Speaker, we cannot be paralyzed by fear but at the same time we must take note of what the realities and real possibilities are when COVID-19 is able to get past the stopgaps, especially where the risks of these gaps can be minimised by preventative actions and cautions.”
He said the 34,000 vaccines donated by the United Kingdom (UK) and Dominica will allow for 17,000 persons to receive two doses of the vaccine. To date, 11, 036 persons have received their first dose while 3765 have received their second doses.
“All residents and stakeholders must be serious about the unrestricted reopening of the Territory while protecting lives and livelihoods.
“A select few of our citizens are becoming grossly uncivil and repugnant in their attempt to convince others not to voluntarily take any vaccines offered in the territory,” Hon Malone lamented.
The Health Minister also said he wanted to make it absolutely clear that the Virgin Islands will not be requiring mandatory vaccination to its residents.
“The choice is yours to freely make. Public and private enterprises must; however, be reasonably expected to introduce and implement protocol measures to protect owners, to protect staff and to protect patrons of their businesses.
“Nation by nation, island by island, home by home, the reality of the effects of the COVID-19 virus is a matter of record. For these with ears let them hear and for those with eyes let them see,” Hon Malone said.