Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris announces COVID-19 vaccine inoculation plans.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — St. Kitts and Nevis’ vaccination plan is now ready, and persons residing in the Federation will start receiving the vaccine against the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) from Monday, February 22, according to Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris.

Prime Minister Harris made the announcement today during the first sitting of the National Assembly for the year.

“Our aim is not just for coverage of 20 percent of the population as is the goal of the COVAX facility but to have more than 70 percent population coverage thereby achieving herd immunity and wide scale protection of all our people here in St. Kitts and Nevis,” said Hon. Harris.

The Federation received 2,000 doses of vaccine from the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica last week. It is set to receive an additional 21,600 doses by the end of February through the COVID-19 Global Access (COVAX) Facility.

Dr. Harris said the Federation’s vaccination plan will be rolled out in a phased approach, with the main goals being to prevent death and serious diseases as much as possible, preserve the orderly functioning of society, and to reduce the extra burden that COVID-19 is having on people already facing vulnerabilities.

“Our plan is to ultimately access enough COVID-19 vaccines to vaccinate at least 70 percent of our population to achieve the herd immunity threshold,” explained Dr. Harris. “We are in the process of expanding the storage capacities for vaccines at our two main hospitals. The vaccines will be transferred from these central storage points to the 17 Health Centers located on Nevis and on St. Kitts which are the designated vaccination sites on both islands. The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is providing technical support by training the community and public health teams to guarantee success of this vaccine implementation programme.”

As part of the vaccination plan, the National Immunization Committee developed a prioritization framework to guide the vaccination process which will occur in three phases. According to Prime Minister Harris, the plan outlines each of the target or priority groups to be vaccinated in each stage.

The Ministry of Health is now partnering with the IT Department to develop a registry which is being populated with names of persons to be vaccinated and a database to facilitate a COVID-19 vaccine safety surveillance.