#TurksandCaicos – December 7, 2020 – The UK on November 13 revealed in its House of Commons that all of the overseas territories would receive from its inventory of 350 million doses of coronavirus vaccines when the time comes. The time is here as the United Kingdom begins vaccinations for the virus tomorrow, having ordered a 40 million dose batch of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
Turks and Caicos is a British overseas territory and Premier Sharlene Robinson, during Saturday’s PDM rally talked about what the emergency decision by the UK to begin inoculations means for Turks and Caicos.
“Only this week, the United Kingdom became the first country in the world to approve the Coronavirus vaccine paving the way for mass vaccinations. The first doses are already on their way to the UK with 800,000 due in the coming days. We are continuing our discussion with Public Health England and there is no doubt that TCI will be a part of the roll out in the new year,” explained the Premier and Finance Minister who also forecasts Turks and Caicos will return to pre-Covid levels by end of 2021.
It is no surprise that the TCI Cabinet agreed to accept the offer of vaccines.
The UK has made significant investment in its overseas territories’ public health programs in the fight against the coronavirus. The House of Commons learned that support to the tune of $33.5 million USD has been spent on the 260,000 cumulative residents of the OTs.
“The Government has accepted the recommendations from the Independent Medicines & Health Care Products Regulatory Agency to approve the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine for distribution across the United Kingdom. After months of clinical trials involving thousands of people to ensure that the vaccine meets the strictest internationally recognized standards of safety, quality and effectiveness, thanks to the fantastic work Kate Bingham and the vaccine’s task force, we have purchased of more than 350 million doses of seven different vaccine candidates,” said Boris Johnson, UK Prime Minister on December 2.
The country’s Chief Medical Officer confirmed, in a recent Ministry of Health press conference that the vaccine would be free.
“We do have a draft immunization strategy, explained Dr. Nadia Astwood, TCI Chief Medical Officer, in response to our question in a press conference held in mid-November.
“In that strategy we are also including the communications strategy to ensure that the public is aware of the vaccine and our plans for the distribution. It’s not mandatory; the vaccine as it is going to be brand new (and) we are entering into an agreement where we are able to get 20 percent of our population covered.” There are mixed feelings among islanders about taking the vaccine. The Premier, at the rally, reminded that the Covid-19 vaccine will be voluntary.