Residents in the British Virgin Islands under the ages of 18 to 12 will now have a chance to get vaccinated with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine through the BVI-USVI joint initiative which is set to commence this week.

Minister for Health Carvin Malone made the announcement during a recent media conference where he said that children ages 12 to 18 will be first priority to receive the vaccine which will be administered within the USVI.

He said, “It will be important to note that we would be looking first priority for those students or for the youngsters who are under 18. They have no choice because AstraZeneca was not made available to them as yet, but they would have the choice of the Pfizer, we will be informed of which one it is that has been approved for the 12-18 bracket and they will be able to take advantage of this.”

He added, “The second group would be those who have chosen voluntarily to bypass the AstraZeneca and go to Pfizer or Moderna. As i’m saying to you, the best and most effective vaccine is the one that you have.”

Call Centre established to facilitate initiative

Minister Malone said in order to accommodate this initiative which will also have the Moderna vaccine as an option for resident over 18, a call center has been established which will be in operation from Monday or Tuesday this week.

He said the number to contact for interested residents who prefer the US variant of the vaccine is 852-7525.

“The call center is now setup. It will be manned by four operators and she will give you the particular hours that they will be manned, but the number that has been set up for this starting either Monday or Tuesday is 852-7525. This number is the number that persons who are interested in having the Pfizer and the Moderna can call so that the registration and the process could be explained to them. This has been made available by the US Virgin Islands government and we have had very excellent presentation,” he explained.

More details to be forthcoming

The health minister also revealed some of what residents can expect when opting to utilise this vaccination service, stating that more details will be forthcoming from the BVI Health Services Authority in the coming days.

He said that persons will have to register on the USVI vaccine portal as well as the BVI vaccine portal.

Those persons who register through the center will be directed to travel via a ferry from the West End terminal to USVI approved port which the minister said is either going to be the St. John port or the Charlotte Amalie port.

Once arrived, persons will be escorted to the vaccination site and returned back to the ferry to return to the BVI.

The minister also noted, that all persons willing to utilise this initiative must be legally able to enter the USVI as no special immigration exemptions have been approved.