Government of the Virgin Islands of the United States
ST. CROIX, U.S. VIRGIN ISLANDS - The VI Department of Health today updated the public on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) amendment of its Emergency Use Authorizations for the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines.d
Last week the FDA announced amendments to the emergency use authorizations of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 bivalent mRNA vaccines to simplify the vaccination schedule for most individuals.
"This action includes authorizing the current bivalent vaccines to be used for all doses administered to individuals 6 months of age and older, including for an additional dose or doses for certain populations," Territorial Epidemiologist Dr. Esther Ellis said during the Government House press briefing held Monday. "The monovalent Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccines are no longer authorized for use in the United States."
According to the FDA, at this stage of the pandemic, data supports simplifying the use of the authorized mRNA bivalent COVID-19 vaccines. The FDA believes that this approach will help encourage future vaccination. Evidence is now available that most of the U.S. population 5 years of age and older has antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, either from vaccination or infection that can serve as a foundation for the protection provided by the bivalent vaccines.
"COVID-19 continues to be a very real risk for many people, and we encourage individuals to consider staying current with vaccination, including with a bivalent COVID-19 vaccine," Dr. Ellis said. "The available data continue to demonstrate that vaccines prevent the most serious outcomes of COVID-19, which are severe illness, hospitalization, and death."
For more information about the FDA amendments visit www.fda.gov
For the third week in a row, the department reported that active COVID cases are in the single digits. This week's positivity rate is 1.7 percent. Active COVID cases totaled 6 territorywide (1 on St. Croix, 5 on St. Thomas and 0 on St. John) and hospitalizations territorywide totaled 1 (one). There is 1 hospitalization at the Juan F Luis Hospital on St. Croix and 0 hospitalizations at Schneider Regional Medical Center on St. Thomas.
World Immunization Week
This week the VI Department of Health joins the global community in observing World Immunization Week. For more than two centuries, vaccines have protected against deadly diseases, from smallpox to COVID-19. This year’s campaign, “The Big Catch-up,” represents a global push to return to pre-pandemic vaccination levels and to stop outbreaks from accelerating.
To find out what and when vaccines should be taken, call the department's Immunization Clinic at 340-718-1311 on St. Croix or 340-774-7477 on St. Thomas.
Fete Responsibly for Carnival 2023
The VI Department of Health wishes everyone a happy Carnival 2023 and urges everyone to fete responsibly.
"This is our first full Carnival with absolutely no restrictions and that is a testament to the resilience of Virgin Islands people," Dr. Ellis said. "Our team is grateful to those of you who chose to become vaccinated and boosted and to those who followed the health guidelines, to get us to this point."
During Carnival, the department's Communicable Diseases team is encouraging everyone to “get checked before you fete” as part of its “3-4-0 Getting to Zero” campaign. Look for the team near Fort Christian for free HIV/STD testing and for free prophylactics. Also look for the department's Disparities Program team and its “Hydration Station” along the j’ouvert route for a free bottle of Gatorade and hand sanitizer.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month
Finally, in May we will observe Mental Health Awareness Month with a host of activities. The department invites everyone to join us in supporting mental wellness by wearing green on Monday, May 1st. Follow the department's Facebook page, www.Facebook.com/virginislandsDOH for more information.