The British government is urging Overseas Territories where COVID-19 vaccine uptake is lagging to encourage their residents to get the jab over concerns that doses provided by the UK are at risk of expiring.
The reminder comes from Lord Ahmad, the former Minister for the Overseas Territories, who now handles Commonwealth affairs in the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).
In a message to the OTs, he said: "The supply of vaccines cannot be taken for granted and each batch has a limited shelf life."
"I must therefore implore everyone who can, to take the vaccine, not only for themselves, but to protect their friends and family, and do their part to ensure you can re-open borders and restart your economy.”
“Now is not the time to wait and see, the vaccines are safe and effective, by getting vaccinated you will be helping your community,” Lord Ahmad said.
With the expiry dates approaching for the current batches of Pfizer-BionTech and Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines supplied by the UK, vaccination rates vary significantly across the OTs.
Gibraltar has been lauded globally for its vaccination rate of over 90% second only to Israel. At the other end of the scale is Montserrat with uptake reported to be averaging just around 25 per cent.