Residents of the British Virgin Islands will soon be able to access the Moderna and Pfizer Covid-19 vaccines by way of travel to the United States Virgin Islands.
This was confirmed by our newsroom in conversation with the Minister of Health and Social Development, Honorable Carvin Malone who said the BVI is in conversation with the USVI to finalize an agreement that would facilitate the immunization initiative.
“Official announcements will be made later this week for those who are intent on receiving only the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. They will be advised on how to register here in the BVI & USVI, and how to, after travelling to the vaccination center in St.Thomas, be properly recorded in BVI’s registry.”
The Minister further revealed that BVIslanders residing overseas who were inoculated with the Moderna or Pfizer brands can register their immunization within this new system.
“Those vaccinated abroad are invited to register with the BVI Registry, so that proper data required will be recorded.”
Some members of the BVI population have expressed concerns about the AstraZeneca vaccine on the premise that it provides a lower efficacy against the virus when compared to other brands.
As other vaccines, there have been rare cases of side effects resulting on local residents petitioning the Government to provide alternative brands.
Local health officials had initially expressed concerns about storage of the Moderna & Pfizer vaccines, adding that it may be a challenge for the BVI.
The AstraZeneca shot is usually stored in a refrigerator between 2 to 8°C. Once removed from the fridge, it may be stored between 2 to 25°C for up 6 hours
The Moderna vaccine uses a similar innovative RNA technology to the Pfizer jab, but it is stored at temperatures of -20C, like a normal freezer, compared to -70C for the Pfizer vaccine. It can also be stored for 30 days at normal fridge temperatures.
Residents continue to question why local Government isn’t pursuing the equipment necessary to facilitate storage of other covid-19 vaccines as seen in the USVI.
They have also shared concerns about the exponential cost associated with travel to the USVI to secure Covid-19 shots.
According to recent updates in the territory, an estimated 15,000 persons have received their first shot and 10,500 have received the final dose.