Some Tourists Find Luck in the Caribbean with Covid-19 Vaccine
This explosion has been exacerbated by the fact that as of March 1, everyone over the age of 16 is eligible for the Virgin Islands vaccine – so tourists do not even have to worry about the line being reduced. The area also hosts about 100 walkers every day. “Nowhere else in the United States can you vaccinate people over the age of 16,” Brian said Monday. On March 1, the islands also opened two federally supported vaccination centers in the community of St. Thomas and St. Croix.
March 26, 2021, 12:43 a.m. ET
U.S. travelers also experience less bureaucracy when visiting the US Virgin Islands compared to other Caribbean destinations. If they test negative for coronavirus within five days of leaving for the area or test positive for antibodies within four months, they do not need to be quarantined upon arrival. Instead, travelers to Jamaica and Barbados are invited to quarantine. And U.S. travelers can not visit the Cayman Islands unless they meet strict eligibility criteria
Dr Hunte-Ceasar said that, at this point, the Ministry of Health did not consider vaccine tourism a problem. “We definitely want to make sure the locals are vaccinated,” he said. But “we had no shortage of services for both populations.” The Virgin Islands currently have 27,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine, 18,900 doses of the Moderna vaccine and 600 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine, said Monife Stout, the department’s immunization director.
Noreen Michael, a scientist at the University of the Virgin Islands who studies health inequalities, agreed that it was important to ensure that vaccines were available to residents who wanted them, but said she had seen no evidence that tourists were getting vaccines. away from residents who want them. “In terms of public health, it’s an advantage,” he said. “In terms of stocks, I do not see it as an important issue.”
Perhaps vaccine tourism could also be used as a force for good – to secure doses for marginalized groups in other areas. Although the Virgin Islands provide free Covid-19 vaccines, the islands could charge tourists for their vaccines and the funds could be used to send vaccines to areas where they need them, said Felicia Knaul, an international health economist at University of Miami. “Can we send these vaccines to Jamaica, or the Dominican Republic, or Haiti?” asked. “Once you have mastered the basic aspects of prosperity and human rights, if you can use this funding to pay for people who do not have access now, I think it is worth thinking about.”
At present, health authorities are focusing on ways to reduce vaccine reluctance in the area. “People have access to misinformation and perpetuate lies and things that are harmful,” Dr. Hunte-Ceasar told a news conference last week. As a result, the islands suffered an increase in cases and hospitalization, which he said gave her “chest pain and heartburn every night.” Although vaccine reluctance appears to be waning, residents should begin embracing the vaccine widely if the islands achieve their goal of vaccinating 50,000 Virgin Islands by July 1st.
In the meantime, visitors from the mainland USA will continue to benefit from the extra installments. Some have stayed longer than they planned – and even thought of moving to the islands forever.
“I began to fall in love with the culture of St. Croix, “said Hemal Trivedi, a documentary filmmaker who lives in Weehawken, NJ and was vaccinated in St. Croix. Croix in February. “Towards the end of the trip, we were really looking for a place to shop.”