Governor Augustus Jaspert has announced that the UK government will donate and deliver some 8,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine to the BVI next month.
Yesterday, Premier Andrew Fahie appeared on the Honestly Speaking radio show and confirmed that in dispensing the shots, healthcare workers and law enforcement officers will be given priority.
He also confirmed that all is in place for the vaccines to arrive by February 15.
A release from the Governor’s Office said the government will be responsible for managing the rollout and distribution of the vaccine in the territory. The release also promised that further doses of the vaccine will be provided to BVI by the UK as rollout plans develop.
“Health officials are working on plans for how to most effectively do this following a visit from Public Health England to discuss plans in December. Current advice from the World Health Organisation and Public Health England states that as many people as possible should take the vaccine. It will be offered on a voluntary basis in BVI,” the release said.
Last year, the UK government promised to provide all Overseas Territories with COVID-19 vaccines.
The BVI will be receiving the vaccine developed by Oxford University and AstraZeneca. This vaccine was given regulatory approval by the UK Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency on 30 December 2020, after a rigorous, detailed scientific review by medical experts.
“It has already been rolled out to thousands of individuals across the UK and is favoured for its more simple storage requirements compared to other vaccines,” the statement from the Governor’s Office assured.
UK/BVI relationship special
Governor August Jaspert said the vaccines give the BVI the opportunity to be one of the safest places to live and visit.
“It is a clear signal of the UK and BVI’s special partnership and I am thankful to the UK for this generous donation which comes at no cost to BVI. Our Health Services and public officials have been doing a fantastic job to fight COVID-19 and I hope the arrival of the vaccine from the UK will be an extra boost to help defeat the virus.”
Previous UK support
According to the release from the Governor’s Office, the vaccines come amid a steady stream of COVID-19 related support from the UK.
“Throughout 2020, the UK provided more than $1.4 million worth of medical equipment including testing kits, ventilators, protective gear, laboratory supplies, mobile isolation units and a new testing machine that has given the BVI the capability to run real-time PCR tests in territory for the first time. This is not only enabling BVI’s medical professionals to respond to the virus but also building the long-term capacity of our local health services,” the release stated.
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