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UK to send last shipment of COVID vaccines to BVI

The BVI is expected to receive a final delivery of COVID-19 vaccines from the UK on Wednesday.

According to Health Minister Marlon Penn, the vaccines were promised under a revised memorandum of understanding between the UK Health Security Agency and the Virgin Islands government.

The new shipment will include pediatric doses of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children aged five and older, as well as doses of Pfizer’s bivalent vaccine that provides enhanced protection against the Omicron variant and the original strain.

The Minister of Health said COVID-19 trends at BVI were encouraging and added that local labs had rarely detected the virus lately. Penn further noted that rates of serious infection and hospitalization from COVID are currently low.

But he said the government was still encouraging people to get vaccinated and vaccinated to protect themselves from the virus.

“I once again urge people, especially those at high risk, including those over 65 and those with chronic conditions, to seriously consider vaccinations and boosters to increase their level of protection,” said Minister Penn.

Seasonal increase COVID and viral respiratory infections

He also warned that reports from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention predict that the flu season could be worsened by a simultaneous seasonal increase in COVID-19 and other viral respiratory infections such as RSV, which also causes flu-like symptoms. He noted that these forecasts for the United States are important for the BVI because the territory welcomes tourists from this country.

“This situation has the potential to lead to a higher than normal burden of disease and impacts in the Virgin Islands and the Caribbean region, given our very close ties with the United States and the increase in trafficking visitors during the tourist season”, explained the minister.

He said COVID-19 and flu vaccines are available at the BVI Health Services Authority through its primary care clinics nationwide.

Significant reduction in COVID around the world

The Minister of Health revealed that current statistics show a significant reduction in the transmission and impact of COVID-19 around the world. Recent reports from the World Health Organization indicate significantly lower rates of COVID-19 cases and deaths compared to 2021 and early 2022.

However, an increasing number of new COVID-19 infections and deaths have been observed in specific countries, namely the United States of America, Russia and Brazil.

At the regional level, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has reported very marginal increases in deaths and cases related to COVID-19 among its member states.

However, CARPHA said it was important to interpret current trends with caution, as most countries have seen an overall decrease in testing.

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