Chief Medical Officer Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache says efforts to engage taxi drivers as it relates to vaccines and the COVID-19 protocols are ongoing as visitors increasingly demand to be transported only by vaccinated drivers.
Keizer-Beache was at the time discussing the issues of unvaccinated taxi drivers and protocols for cruise ship entry among others raised by callers and panelists on Issue at Hand programme aired on WEFM.
In light of the concerns raised, Keizer-Beache said that her team recently met with taxi drivers, that the turnout was not as expected, and that efforts are on-going to engage them.
She also said that this issue has been a point of discussion with tourism officials.
She said health officials are looking into having some sort of designation between unvaccinated and vaccinated taxi drivers so that people can choose.
Keizer-Beache acknowledged that there are insufficient taxi drivers and that this will be a logistical challenge “in terms of ensuring that we vaccinate taxi drivers to transport people”.
On the other hand, guests are requesting that the taxi driver that “brings them to the hotel are fully vaccinated,” the CMO said.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Health has discussed with the tourism officials the protocols for cruise ships entry.
“We are working closely with the Ministry of Tourism on the cruise ship protocols, there’s actually a committee in place. Dr. Duncan is involved with that along with our epidemiologist, PS of Tourism and some of the other stakeholders”, the CMO stated.
There is an emphasis worldwide and within CARICOM on vaccinated passengers and to ensure that the people interacting with tourists are also vaccinated, Keizer-Beache said.
When asked about crafts and other vendors plying their trade at tourism sites, Keizer-Beache disclosed they will have to choose to be vaccinated or not.
“That’s what it is looking like”.
If people do not take the vaccine, then they will have to undergo testing on the day of the visit, the CMO stated.