Health Minister Carvin Malone has announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be available for persons under 18 during the fall of this year.
Fall (autumn) begins in September each year.
During an April 5 national broadcast, Minister Malone said although children will be prioritized later this year, they only make up 20 percent of the BVI’s population and have a smaller role to play in achieving herd immunity and revitalizing the economy.
“Adults make up 80 percent of our population and if possible, we need the entire 80 percent to get vaccinated so that we can begin to normalise our everyday activities and begin the process of revitalising our economy. Vaccinations for persons under 18 — children — will not be available until the fall. So it is really up to the adult population to do their part and get vaccinated now,” Minister Malone explained.
The minister revealed that as of April 5, some 8,246 persons have received their first AztraZeneca dose.
The bulk of that number is on Tortola with 6,971 persons, while 1,118 is on Virgin Gorda, 68 on Jost Van Dyke, and 89 on Anegada.
“The monthly statistics reveal that 4,068 units were administered during the month of February; 3,790 during March and so far in April 388 units,” Minister Malone explained.
Four private facilities to administer vaccine
Last month, the government had announced that it would allow private healthcare facilities to administer vaccines free of cost to the public.
And Minister Malone last night announced that four businesses have applied to supply the jabs to the public.
“[The] Memorandum of Understanding with the local medical providers is ready for signature. So those persons who are intent on making sure that they visit their private practitioners; all four of the businesses that have applied would be given the opportunity to sign this Memorandum of Understanding, and we can begin having the extra assistance necessary to get the 17,000 plus persons vaccinated.
The Health Minister also reminded the public that the vaccine will help the BVI to reopen its economy and even relax some of the COVID-19 protocols.
He noted another British Overseas Territory, Gibraltar as a good example; explaining that the territory has vaccinated a substantial portion of its population and have thus made the decision to reduce mask-wearing.
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