With the “MU” variant of coronavirus now detected in the British Virgin Islands, Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Ronald Georges has once reiterated the need for public compliance of the health protocols.
Despite the growing concerns of the variant’s immunity to vaccination, Dr. Georges is urging residents to get vaccinated in an effort to arrest possible spread while global officials continue to investigate the new variant of interest.
“So at this time for us is really to be interested, to be on the lookout, and to continue to be vigilant to see what additional information comes up about it. In terms of what can we actually do other than being interested in getting information, is exactly what we have been saying all the time; adherence to the public health measures and vaccination. Those measures are not going to change. Those are the tools we have to deal with variants and Covid.”
Despite the public call to get persons immunized against the virus, vaccine hesitancy continues to be a problem faced in the territory.
Dr. Georges appealed to persons on the fence about the jab.
“Of course there are the detractors and the persons who look at some of the negative things and use that to push an agenda, but there is more and more evidence about vaccines and the impact they have.”
“Vaccines are a powerful tool in terms of the reduction of the impact and they also help when worked together with other public health measures to reduce infectiousness and the transmission in the population,” he added.
The Acting CMO is also hopeful that the FDA’s recent regulation of the Pfizer vaccine will help to boost confidence in the community on getting inoculated.
“Pfizer vaccine had full FDA approval so I think that would be a big push for a number of people who are on the fence about the approvals. And I think as the months go by we will see the other vaccines being able to present their information to the US regulators and moving from emergency use authorization to full approvals. And I think that as well would be quite a bit of a push for some people who may be on the fence.”
It’s unclear how much protection the vaccines offer against this variant.
“The Mu variant has a constellation of mutations that indicate potential properties of immune escape,” the WHO said in a statement last Tuesday, raising concerns that it may be more resistant to coronavirus vaccines than other variants. “But this needs to be confirmed by further studies,” it added.
US top infectious-disease expert Anthony S. Fauci said that while laboratory data had shown that the mu variant can evade certain antibodies — among them those induced by vaccine shots — there is currently a lack of clinical data and other research involving people that shows this. He underscored that in general, vaccines remain effective and the best protection against the coronavirus.
As of September 3rd, 2021 a total of 17,233 Covid-19 vaccines have been administered in the BVI. These include 14,074 fully vaccinated and 3,159 partially vaccinated.