Governor Andrew Pearce said the UK is committed to meeting the COVID-19 vaccine needs of the Overseas Territories including Montserrat despite the reluctance of residents to take it.
During Wednesday’s press conference which was streamed live online and on ZJB Radio, Governor Pearce said doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the previous two batches on island were shared with Anguilla and The Bahamas so as not to waste them before they hit their expiry date. That he said was a win-win out of a difficult situation.
Pearce added that going forward they have indicated to the Ministry of Health that if Montserrat needs more vaccines the UK will supply. Montserrat seems to have hit a ceiling of who wants to be vaccinated, the governor continued. To avoid a tense standoff, the ministry needs to invite those who wish to be vaccinated to indicate this and then an order will be placed to distribute accordingly.
Montserrat officials were hoping to vaccinate up to 80% of the eligible residents on island this year. In total, the UK sent 5000 doses in two batches, enough to inoculate 2500 people. However, 500 doses of batch one were sent to Anguilla to assist in their programme at the end of April. Anguilla and Montserrat eventually had to donate 3496 doses of the vaccine to The Bahamas.
Currently, 1368 people on island have been fully vaccinated, with 1460 having taken their first dose. That means there are 92 people who need to receive a second dose. The last batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine expired July 31, 2021.