Vaccination For Belize’s Tourism Workers Now Underway

by Carolee Chanona

With more than 5% of the Belizean population vaccinated, the dual Caribbean and Central American nations seemingly get safer by the day. Now, vaccination of the tourism has commenced as of March 30, as Phase 2C in Belize’s 5-Phased Vaccine Roll-Out Programme. Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer, Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, informed the Belize Tourism Board that 8,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are being made available for the tourism sector. Consequently, the campaign will initially target frontline workers considered to be at high risk. For this reason, those that are 40 years and older will receive the first dose of the AstraZeneca Vaccine.

Recently, the Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations and the BTB conducted a survey among industry stakeholders to determine the number of persons inclined to accept the vaccine. All in all, 87% of the respondents stated that they were interested in taking the vaccine. The vaccination for tourism workers is part of the second phase of the government-run inoculation program which kick-started on March 1, 2021, the inoculation of medical workers.

First COVAX Shipment of AstraZeneca Now In Country

On March 31, Belize received 33,600 additional doses as part of the COVAX program; COVAX is a global initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines led by UNICEF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, the World Health Organization, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations, and others. Not to mention, additional doses of the vaccine will be received in the coming weeks. To date, more than 21,000 residents in Belize have received their first vaccination dose. This includes health care workers; seniors and vulnerable citizens; educators; National Assembly members; border officers; police officers; and now, tourism workers.

Belize’s 5-Phased Vaccine Distribution

belize vaccine roll-out campaign

“The vaccination of frontline tourism workers; the reduction in active COVID-19 cases; the receipt of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) Safe Travels stamp; and the ongoing implementation of the Gold Standard Certification program will convey to the world that Belize is a safe destination. This will assist us in our efforts to boost traveller confidence and attract visitors to Belize,” said Hon. Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations.

The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine in Belize signals a new era of hope for Belizeans, especially the tourism sector which has been the hardest hit by the pandemic. The vaccination of the tourism sector, in conjunction with the ongoing implementation of the Gold Standard Certification Program and the receipt of the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) SafeTravels stamp, will convey to the world that Belize is indeed a safe and viable tourism destination. The second dose is scheduled to be administered in 12 weeks’ time.

All images courtesy of Belize’s Ministry of Health & Wellness.

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