The Government had hoped to have at least 80% of the population vaccinated to achieve herd immunity ahead of fully reopening its economy; however, there has been a reluctance to taking the vaccines, particularly from the local population.
8,519 people in the Virgin Islands population of just over 30,000, have had the first dose of the vaccine as of April 7, 2021.
“…and according to health officials, there have been no reports of any significant adverse effects to those persons,” Premier Fahie said in a COVID-19 update on April 8, 2021.
He also noted that each supply of vaccines currently on hand has ‘fast approaching’ expiration dates.
“We will continue to educate, and inform the public of the benefits and advantages of being vaccinated. Our lives, our health and our economy depend on what we all do. What we will not do, is allow our supply of vaccines to expire awaiting the decisions of some of the public.
“In this regard, a decision will have to be made whether or not the volume of vaccines that is at risk of being expired would have to be returned to the United Kingdom and/or Dominica.”
The Premier also noted that Government’s “proactive steps” in securing vaccines from COVAX in 2020 would have to be heavily weighed, “in that: do we want it or not? If it is that we do it will work out well, but if it is that we do not want them it would result in wasted resources.”
Meanwhile, Hon Fahie, speaking on the ‘ZOEJ SAYS’ talk show on Saturday, April 10, 2021, indicated that whether the territory is 80% vaccinated or not, the VI will fully re-open in June 2021, given his government has done all it could to balance lives and livelihoods as well as to encourage vaccination.