PHILIPSBURG (DCOMM):— Recently, confusion and discussion arose on social media about the eligibility of so-called ”snowbirds” (people who only reside on the island for a couple of months every year), and vaccine tourists. These groups would try to receive the COVID-19 vaccine in Sint Maarten while they are not eligible. The vaccination registration system as it currently is asks for any form of identification, so not necessarily a Sint Maarten ID. This was purposely done to include undocumented persons residing on the island. Documented or not, these persons live in Sint Maarten and can thus also contract and spread the COVID-19 virus. The group is also a substantial part of our total population, so this group must be included if we aim to reach herd immunity, the Vaccine Management Team (VMT) pointed out. To encourage undocumented persons to register and take the vaccine, the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) wants to emphasize that there will be no immigration checks and that your data will be deleted after receiving your first dose. However, the vaccines are not meant for tourists and so-called ”snowbirds” (those who fly into Sint Maarten to get the vaccine or those who only live here for short periods every year). Therefore, the Minister of VSA, and the VMT have worked on a procedure to filter out these groups from the registration list, without discouraging or burdening all eligible persons with extra hurdles. All registrations will be scanned and those who might not be eligible will be flagged. This, however, does not mean that you won’t be able to receive the vaccine. When flagged you will need to provide proof that you have lived on the island for six months or longer. This can be a rental agreement, a utility bill from NV GEBE, a letter from your employer, or entry stamp in your passport. Only after providing one of these documents, you will be scheduled for your vaccination appointment. The VMT would once more like to emphasize, that no immigration checks will be carried out, based on these documents. It is in everyone’s best interest if everybody who lives on Sint Maarten receives the vaccine. By implementing this procedure, the VMT will filter out those who are not eligible as much as possible to ensure that the vaccines will go to the intended persons, without adding hurdles for all eligible persons on Sint Maarten. This procedure should also discourage tourists from trying to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on Sint Maarten.


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