The government of Antigua and Barbuda has begun the COVID-19 vaccination process for frontline workers in the tourism industry.
In just the past week, over 2,000 hospitality professionals across Antigua and Barbuda were vaccinated, officials said.
“We are encouraged by the enthusiasm of our tourism stakeholders who made themselves available for the vaccine,” said Colin C. James , CEO of the Tourism Authority. “The continued health and safety of our tourism workers remains a priority for us as we welcome visitors safely to our destination and prepare for a strong tourism rebound when travel restrictions ease within the next few months in our key source markets.”
Additionally, 473 people from the airline community also received their first doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last week, at the VC Bird International Airport.
“It is of utmost importance for us to protect our employees,” said Alex de Brito, Chairman of the Antigua and Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association. “Our industry cannot survive without their dedication, hard work and commitment to seeing the Industry bounce back. With so many already taking the step towards vaccination, we are confident that our destination will have a positive image in the international travel media. Our message is definitely one that promotes the safety of our destination and the commitment that the Government has shown in reviving the economy of Antigua and Barbuda and getting us beyond the grips of the pandemic.”
Among those given the opportunity to receive the vaccine were administrative workers, operations and security staff of the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority, airline staff, concessionaires, ground handlers, taxi drivers, red caps and tour companies.
“In March 2020, the pandemic forced the closure of our borders,” said Euletta Francis, CEO of the Antigua and Barbuda Airport Authority. “Today, I am mindful that we are at this point having come through an extremely challenging year.”
“I am indeed grateful that employees who have sacrificed so much and overcome their worst fears during a difficult time got this important layer of protection in the fight against Covid-19,” Francis said.
To date, over 23,000 people in Antigua and Barbuda have been vaccinated.
Those vaccinated include health care workers, senior and vulnerable citizens, educators, those within the public sector, and tourism frontline workers.
Antigua and Barbuda’s tourism industry has been open since June 2020.