The British Virgin Islands (BVI) will be receiving the final shipment of COVID-19 vaccines from the United Kingdom today, Wednesday.
According to Health Minister Marlon Penn, the vaccines were guaranteed under the provisions of a revised Memorandum of Understanding between the UK Health Security Agency and the Virgin Islands government.
The fresh shipment will comprise doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccinations for children aged five and older and doses of Pfizer’s bivalent vaccine, which offers increased protection against the Omicron variation and the original strain.
Penn stated that COVID-19 trends in the British Virgin Islands are encouraging and that local tests have rarely discovered the virus in recent years. Penn added that serious infections and hospitalizations related to COVID are currently at a low rate.
However, he stated that the government continues to recommend that individuals receive the vaccine and booster shots to protect themselves from the virus.
The Health Minister urged everyone, especially those at higher risk, such as those over the age of 65 and those with chronic conditions, to consider vaccination and booster shots to strengthen their level of protection.
Penn also warned that reports from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that the influenza season may be worsened by a concurrent seasonal increase in COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections, which also causes flu-like symptoms. He noted that these predictions for the United States are important for the BVI because the territory welcomes tourists from that country.
“This situation has the potential to cause higher than normal disease burden and impacts in the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region, given our close ties to the United States and increases in visitor traffic during the tourism season,” the Minister explained.
He said COVID-19 and influenza vaccines are available at the BVI Health Services Authority through its primary-care clinics across the territory.
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