Dr Laws pleads: Protect the elderly

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws, Chair of the COVID-19 Vaccination Commencement Launch and Ceremony.
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Health authorities in St Kitts and Nevis are pleading with the general public to consider the health and safety of the elderly, after an additional four COVID-19 deaths were recorded in St Kitts and Nevis this week, all among the ageing demographic.

On January 31, the federation recorded the four deaths – all confirmed to be unvaccinated, elderly people – moving the figure to 37. 

During the fourth wave, there have been nine COVID-related deaths. 

Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Hazel Laws said that it is important to note that these individuals were all unvaccinated, they were older adults, and they had underlying chronic conditions.

She explained that the World Health Organization has described this demographic as being the most vulnerable to suffer serious consequences from the virus.

“That means these individuals are at an increased risk of being admitted and going on the ventilator and even dying.”

Dr Laws emphasized that unvaccinated persons face a higher risk of becoming severely ill. 

“Vaccinated people on the other hand generally experience mild illness, and those who do have breakthrough infection just have mild symptoms. In one or two days they recover without any problems.”

She stressed that the unvaccinated elderly are to be protected from the virus.

“It is important for me to underscore that the most vulnerable persons amongst us are the older adults who are unvaccinated and who have underlying chronic conditions. When I look at the demographic information of the persons who recently died, I realise that these individuals were not going out regularly; they did not go out and pick up COVID.”

The CMO said that based on the information, what they are surmising is that these individuals picked up the infection from their loved ones; people in their social network.

“We want persons in families to be careful when interacting with the older adults in your social network, especially the older adults who are unvaccinated, because if they do become ill, their risk of getting severely ill, their risk of being admitted, is high.”

Thus far, the death statistics show that 23 have been male and 14 female, with 78 percent being over 60.

“This is very important, and we want to pause and reach out to those individuals who have not yet come on board in terms of accepting the vaccine. I want to implore you, I am beseeching that you recognise your vulnerability, empower yourself with the latest information about the vaccines and recognise they do provide that layer of protection, and it helps you to combat the virus.

“I don’t want us to become nonchalant and take this new variant for granted, because there are individuals who have become seriously ill, even with Omicron.”

Over this past week, 115 new cases of COVID-19  have been added, down from 305 cases in the previous week. 322 persons have fully recovered.

During the latest wave, to date there have been 2624 cases with 2295 recoveries. 

Dr Laws also gave statistics for recovery amongst the vaccinated statuses.

“If you are fully vaccinated for COVID in St Kitts and Nevis, the average time for recovery is seven days, if you are unvaccinated the average time for recovery is 12 days.

“Based on the data, we are noticing that persons who are fully vaccinated if you have underlying chronic conditions, you may experience a longer time to recovery. It is the same for those who are unvaccinated; when we test to see if you have recovered, it takes a little longer than 12 days.”

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