STATEMENT BY HONOURABLE CARVIN MALONE
MINISTER FOR HEALTH AND SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
DURING THE EIGHTH SITTING OF THE THIRD SESSION OF THE FOURTH HOUSE OF ASSEMBLY OF THE VIRGIN ISLANDS
ON THURSDAY 29TH APRIL 2021
AT THE SAVE THE SEED
ROAD TOWN, TORTOLA
COVID-19 VACCINATION MILESTONE
Mister Speaker, thank you for this opportunity to say a few words in celebration of the over 10,000 residents of the Virgin Islands that have heeded the call to be vaccinated against the deadly virus that causes COVID-19.
By midday yesterday, April 28th, 2021, one hundred and twelve (112) persons had voluntarily received their first jab of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and the BVI had reached the significant milestone of 10,000 persons having their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. This brings us closer to the target of vaccinating at least 17,000 adult residents, which would reduce the chances of a serious outbreak of the disease in the population.
In celebration of this ‘10,000th person’ milestone, I will honour a pledge I made on Wednesday to provide lunch to the first 61 persons who send a picture of their immunisation card to 441-0332. #jab&dine.
Mister Speaker, while there are persons who will choose not to take the vaccine regardless of the scientific evidence presented, and there are others who would like a bit more information before taking the jab, my unapologetic mission is to provide more education to reduce hesitation to vaccination. Vaccination saves lives!
Through the grace and mercy of God, as of 28 April 2021, the BVI had on record two (2) active cases of COVID-19. The BVI Government and Non-governmental organisation (NGOs) have committed and/or spent over $100,000,000 in the development of infrastructure, purchase of equipment and PPE, provisioning of homes, and the distribution of stimulus grants to individuals, businesses, churches, farmers, and fishers. Public and private sector employees are physically tired, exhausted, and sometimes frustrated with the increasing demands to do more to keep us all safe.
Nationals, residents, and visitors alike have adhered to the health and safety protocols, and have been subjected to lock downs, quarantine, and social distancing for over thirteen months. Our Tourism industry workers and the wider economy have suffered extensively.
Mister Speaker, following the science has kept us reasonably safe and offers us the best hope of social and economic recovery once we achieve herd immunity through widespread vaccination. Just like other deadly epidemics throughout the ages, vaccination is required to lessen the transmission and mitigate the effects of COVID-19.
Mister Speaker, it is certainly not my intention to intimidate, to threaten or blackmail anyone, but rather to educate and inform residents of the benefits of being vaccinated. Why risk your life and the lives of others? Why risk your business and the business of others? Mister Speaker why risk your job, and the livelihood of others? The choice is yours. There are sufficient vaccines for an additional 7,000 persons. The opportunity is here, but the choice is yours. Don't hesitate, vaccinate!
I Thank you.