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Minister of Tourism, Anthony Mahler, says 8,000 vaccines for tourism sector should boost industry

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Posted: Friday, April 2, 2021. 1:18 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: The Belize Tourism Board (BTB) confirmed on Wednesday that the Ministry of Health and Wellness assigned 8,000 AstraZeneca vaccines for the tourism sector and that its members are already being vaccinated as part of Phase 2 of the vaccination roll out.

Anthony Mahler, Minister of Tourism & Diaspora Relations said the vaccination of tourism workers should help boost the tourism industry.

“The availability of the COVID-19 vaccine for those working in the tourism sector is welcomed news,” Mahler said. “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 convey to world that Belize is a safe destination. This will assist us in our efforts to boost traveler confidence and attract visitors to Belize,” he said.

The second phase of the National Covid-19 Immunization campaign which began on Tuesday, March 30, also includes members of the National Assembly & Judiciary, teachers, police officers, and the staff of the Customs and Immigration department.

The BTB release said 87% of respondents to a survey conducted by the Ministry of Tourism & Diaspora Relations and the BTB among industry stakeholders said they were interested in taking the vaccine.

BTB said Dr. Natalia Largaespada Beer, Technical Advisor at the Ministry of Health and Wellness, informed them of the 8,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine for the tourism sector. The campaign will initially target frontline workers considered to be at high risk and people 40 years and older are being given the first dose of the AstraZeneca Vaccine. The second dose is scheduled to be administered after 12 weeks in line with the new guidelines by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

According to Dr. Beer, over 21,000 Belizeans have received the first dose of the vaccine.

This week the Ministry of Health and Wellness received 33,600 new doses bringing the total Belize has acquired to 59,600. Previously, Belize received 25,000 from India and 1,000 from Barbados.

The vaccines received this week are part of the COVAX program, 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.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness said more vaccines will be acquired in the coming weeks.

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