The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has recommended for mandatory quarantine to no longer be required for persons who have been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. However, the British Virgin Islands will not follow haste with the updated decision until the majority of its population has been vaccinated.
In a COVID-19 update on Wednesday, the CDC listed a number of new COVID guidance measures which outlined changes following new developments of treatments for the virus.
“Fully vaccinated persons who meet criteria will no longer be required to quarantine following an exposure to someone with COVID-19. Additional considerations for patients and residents in healthcare settings are provided,” the United States public health institution stated.
Herd Immunity necessary
But, responding to questions on whether vaccinated persons will be exempted from quarantining in the territory, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Ronald Georges said the BVI will first have to reach the stage of herd immunity in its vaccination rollout.
Herd immunity is, effectively, a condition acquired when most of a population becomes immune to an infectious disease, thus preventing the spread of the disease. This can be achieved if a high proportion of individuals have previously been infected or through vaccination.
“With regards to the BVI, we will get there but it is important for us to all get on board with the vaccination because the thing is, we have persons entering the territory but we have to make sure that we are also protected,” Dr Georges stated during government’s media conference to commence its ‘COVID-19 Vaccination Roll Out’ on Thursday.
“The governor did mention in his brief remarks that not only does the vaccine protect those who are vaccinated, but it reduces the risk of transmission. So if we have sufficient of our population vaccinated to reduce the chance of transmission, then we can look very seriously at looking at our current restrictions, how those change and how those impact our opening of the territory,” the Acting CMO further explained.
Dr Georges also said the majority of the BVI’s population vaccinated will be a game-changer for the territory as it will allow for the full reopening of the territory, its economy, and society.
The BVI presently follows its health guidance from the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
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