Webinar held on COVID-19 Vaccination and International Travel

10 Jun 2021
Flying in the Caribbean

Bridgetown, Barbados, June 10, 2021 (PAHO) - On Wednesday 09 June 2021, approximately two hundred and twenty (220) persons tuned in to the webinar on COVID-19 vaccination and International travel: the role of the vaccination passport and immunity certificate to revive the tourism economy in the Eastern Caribbean.

Hosted by the PAHO/WHO Office for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, the webinar was deemed timely following the global roll-out of vaccines and relaxing of public health and social measures in some countries.  The introduction of vaccines and subsequent roll out, is envisioned as a key intervention to significantly contribute to the urgent need to boost economies and “return to normal”. This is of particular interest for the Eastern Caribbean Countries whose economy is highly dependent of tourism.  Countries have applied different approaches to control the risk of importation of COVID-19 when reopening their borders to tourists and nationals returning from abroad. Given the “pandemic fatigue” and growing public exhaustion and frustration with restrictions, public officials in many countries have been more reluctant to introduce strict interventions this time, fearing their economic impact.

Dr. Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, opened the webinar by welcoming participants and providing brief remarks.  There are four factors that together are a dangerous combination globally, increased transmissibility of new variants, increased social mixing, relaxing of public health and social measures, and uneven and inequitable vaccine distribution around the world,” said Dr. Gebre.

Dr. Shawn Charles, Chief Medical Officer from the Ministry of Health Grenada, delivered a comprehensive presentation on “Vaccination, Public Health and International Travel – Grenada’s Experience”.  This was followed by a panel discussion on the role of vaccination passport and immunity certificate to revive the tourism economy in the Eastern Caribbean.  Panelist for this session were Dr. Aisha Anderwin, Chief Medical Officer, Ministry of Health Anguilla, Dr. Arthur Phillips, Senior Medical Officer, Ministry of Health, Barbados and Ms. Lisa Valmond, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Tourism, Dominica.

Dr. Roberta Andraghetti, Regional Advisor, International Health Regulations (IHR), PAHO/WHO wrapped by the formal presentations by discussing considerations on vaccination and international travel, from the IHR perspective.

In the final session of the webinar, moderator Ms. Nicola Barriteau fielded many questions and queries posed by participants, to be answered presenters and the panelist.  The subject area of this webinar generated a lot of interest, many questions and queries were submitted prior to, during, and after the webinar was completed.

Recording of webinar: