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People on the Caribbean island where a volcano went off are being evacuated on cruise ships — but not without a COVID-19 vaccine

People on the Caribbean island where a volcano went off are being evacuated on cruise ships — but not without a COVID-19 vaccine
People on the Caribbean island where a volcano went off are being evacuated on cruise ships — but not without a COVID-19 vaccine
The evacuees most have received a vaccination before they board the cruise ships, the prime minister has said.
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  • People on the island of St. Vincent are hoping to be evacuated by cruise ship.
  • The island was hit by a volcanic eruption last week, making much of it uninhabitable.
  • Some neighboring islands are accepting evacuees only if they have taken a COVID-19 vaccine.
  • See more stories on Insider's business page.

People on the volcano-stricken island of St. Vincent will be evacuated to certain neighboring islands only if they've been vaccinated against COVID-19, the nation's prime minister said.

Cruise ships have been dispatched to the island that is being partially evacuated after the 4,000-foot high volcano La Soufrière erupted on Friday.

But people have to be vaccinated before they board the cruise ship, Ralph Gonsalves, the prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, said at a press conference the day after the eruption.

"The chief medical officer would be identifying the persons already vaccinated so that we can get them on the ship," Gonsalves said.

More than 16,000 people are being evacuated from the "red zones" — the parts of the island in most danger. This map shows the danger zones on the island:

Some are due to be temporarily housed in the neighboring islands of St. Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, and Antigua.

But most of the islands would require vaccination before they take anybody in.

"If people are willing to welcome you at a time of COVID-19, they will wish you to have the highest level of protection possible," Gonsalves told reporters on Saturday.

St. Lucia is not requesting people to be vaccinated to come, he said, but it may require vaccination on arrival.

"We have to manage all of this during the time of COVID-19," Gonsalves told NBC 6 on Sunday. "We have managed the pandemic quite well. We have had only 10 deaths."

The eruption on Friday left the island struggling with power and water cuts. The island is covered in deep volcanic ash that is starting to harden on the ground, emergency officials on the island said in a tweet Sunday.

Gonsalves has also said some people don't want to evacuate.

This could be because of a fear of vaccination, which may in turn put them off receiving other government help after the eruption.

"People are very scared of the vaccine and they opt out of coming to a shelter because eventually they would have to adhere to the protocol," the opposition politician Shevern John said, according to Reuters.

Gonsalves has warned it could be up to four months before people are allowed to return home.

Read the original article on Business Insider
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