SKN Hopes to Vaccinate 10k by April 16, Herd Immunity by Mid Summer

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Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 25, 2021 (SKNIS): The Ministry of Health is aiming to vaccinate 10,000 persons on or before April 16, 2021, says Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Hazel Laws, during the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) Press Briefing on March 24.

The Federation has in its possession 20,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine. As the vaccine is given in two doses, 10,000 persons are the target. As of March 24, 8,123 persons have received the vaccine so far. This means 24.6 percent of the target population has been vaccinated.

Dr. Laws stated that the COVAX Facility has allotted 21,600 doses to the Federation. This means an additional 10,800 persons can be vaccinated.

“Based on information coming out of the facility, we hope to receive 7,200 doses in March of this year, 7,200 doses in April, and 7,200 doses in May,” she said. “So, between now and May we can cover an additional 10,800 persons.”

The Chief Medical Officer said that the Federation is aiming to provide coverage for 70 percent of its adult population. She added that to achieve this goal, 25,000 more doses are needed.

“The Ministry of Health, our Cabinet, and the leadership of the Federation, we are doing all we can to access these additional 25,000 doses,” she said. “Access to the COVID-19 vaccine is crucial to curbing the spread of the COVID-19 infections.”

The Federation is also aiming to reach the herd immunity threshold by June or July of 2021, said Dr. Laws.

“The quicker we get there, the better it is for our health system and for the socio-economic context of our Federation,” she said. “It’s an all of society approach and we are appealing to everyone in the Federation. We want to thank those who have already come on board and said yes and consented to take their first dose. We are now reaching out to the others in terms of empowering yourself with the information and we are asking you to make an informed decision, come on board and help us attain this goal of reaching our herd immunity threshold.”

Dr. Laws noted that once herd immunity is achieved when the Federation accepts inbound passengers by air or sea, the risk of clusters developing will be reduced.

“The risk of our going into community transmission will be considerably reduced because the herd immunity provides indirect protection to the vulnerable and to those who cannot be vaccinated,” she said. “That’s why we are imploring our people to come on board.”

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