The Antigua and Barbuda government has entered into a partnership with a local company to offer an incentive to residents who take the vaccine.
The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and the Environment said it was partnering with Epicurean Fine Foods and Pharmacy in a “One World Protected” campaign offering a EC$50 food voucher to each person receiving a first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Last weekend, Prime Minister Gaston Browne warned of the possibility of implementing a mandatory vaccination program as he criticized persons who were encouraging others not to participate in the national vaccination program.
“This is not a threat,” Browne said noting that the pandemic has had a tremendous impact on the socio-economic development of the island since the first case was diagnosed last March.
Well I want to say definitively to the people of Antigua and Barbuda that we do not have the luxury of not getting vaccinated and if we do not get the herd immunity perhaps in the next 60 to 90 days there is going to be weeping and gnashing of teeth in this country,” Browne said, adding “that is the reality of it”.
In its statement, the ministry said that the voucher is not redeemable for cash or change and must be utilized in one transaction.
Health, Wellness and the Environment Minister, Sir Molwyn Joseph said that he is delighted that Epicurean Fine Foods and Pharmacy has come forward to support the government’s drive to reach herd immunity by offering a token to individuals who receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine.
“Getting vaccinated is not only a personal choice, but it is a choice that will impact positively on individuals, families, friends, communities and the nation of Antigua and Barbuda. The support of Epicurean Fine Foods and Pharmacy in this public health initiative is vital to the overall wellness and development of our society,” Sir Molwyn said.
The company’s human resource administrator, Nola Clarke, said that the company recognizes the importance of the nation being fully vaccinated and is delighted to support the government in offering a token to those individuals who make the responsible decision to get vaccinated.
“We proudly stand resilient with the government in this fight against the COVID-19 virus,” said Nola Clarke.
Sir Molwyn said that this initiative comes at an opportune time as the Ministry of Health ramps up its campaign to get more persons vaccinated. He said that he looks forward to other businesses on island partnering with the Ministry to get the nation vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.
The ministry has said that creating herd immunity will ensure that the majority of the population is protected from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19.
“With herd immunity, it is expected that the country will return to normalcy, which will include the facilitation of economic, social and cultural activities and the ease of travel. Individuals who received their first dose twelve weeks ago will commence receiving their second dose this month,” it added.