When COVID-19 vaccines are available, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws, left; and JNF General Hospital Chief of Staff Dr. Cameron Wilkinson; indicate they are willing to be inoculated to assure the public that the vaccine is safe.

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Two senior health officials in St. Kitts and Nevis, who have been at the forefront of crafting the successful COVID-19 health and safety protocols, are prepared to take the lead in being inoculated when COVID-19 vaccines become available in the twin-island Federation.

On Wednesday, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws and Medical Chief of Staff of the Joseph N. France General Hospital Dr. Cameron Wilkinson signalled that they are willing to take the jab publicly to reassure residents.

“I believe in the safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” said Dr. Wilkinson. “When the vaccine becomes available, and if I am considered to be on the priority list, I will be happy to take it so that we can demonstrate to the entire nation that the vaccine is safe.”

Dr. Laws supported Dr. Wilkinson’s stance noting, however, that she would avoid taking the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine due to her aggressive allergic reactions. Health professionals advise persons with severe allergic responses not to take the vaccine manufactured by Pfizer-BioNTech.

Instead, she said that she will “probably take the Moderna or the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.”

As for the timeline when a vaccine may be made available for use in St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. Laws estimated that it may be some time in the second quarter of 2021.

“Anywhere between April, May, June,” said Dr. Laws. “That’s the projected timeline. However, once we are told specifically the date, the general public will be informed.”

St. Kitts and Nevis has signed on to the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access Facility (COVAX) and will receive enough vaccines to cover 20 percent of the population in the initial stages. The Republic of China (Taiwan) has also pledged financial assistance of US$600,000 to purchase vaccines for the twin-island Federation.