By MyVue News.com Staff Reporter
Basseterre, 22nd February, 2021, (MyVue News.com)-Within 10 days of receiving its first shipment of vaccines, St. Kitts & Nevis did not waste anytime in getting the doses into the arms of its front line workers, top government officials and other groups that have been leading the fight against the deadly Coronavirus, since March, 2020.
Leading the way was the country’s Prime Minister, Dr. Timothy Harris, members of his federal Cabinet, doctors, nurses and others serving on the special COVID-19 Task Force, including the Chief Medical Officer, and Chief of the Medical Staff.
The focus is on those who work in high risk areas of the health system, and some in the taxi and hotel sectors, as well as older adults from 60-79 years old, with chronic diseases.
St. Kitts & Nevis on Saturday, 13th February received 2,000 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford University vaccine, from Dominica, which in turn had been granted a huge supply from the government of India.
Minister of Health, Akilah Byron-Nisbett, said on Sunday night, (21st February), while announcing the roll out plan, that the country continues to be proactive in its efforts to manage COVID-19, as the pandemic wreaks a devastating toll on communities globally.
She said St. Kitts & Nevis has become a model country when it comes to how it has managed the response to the disease that has killed millions across the world.
In St. Kitts & Nevis however, there have been no deaths, no serious hospitalization and currently only 2 active cases from the 41 confirmed ones since March, 2020.
The Health Minister said that the utilization of the vaccine is designed to protect the vulnerable, save lives and reduce the burden of the virus on the country’s health system and that the vaccine plan is being rolled out under the guidance of the National Immunization Committee within the Ministry of Health.
The first set of vaccines were administered on Monday afternoon, 22nd February, 2021, at a special session held at the Newtown Health Center in East Basseterre.
Assistance was received from regional partners, such as PAHO and WHO.
The vaccination plan, said the Health Minister, will be executed, utilizing a 3 phased approach, with the main goals being (a) mitigate against death and serious disease, (b) promote maximum functioning of society and, (c) reduce the burden of COVID-19 on vulnerable persons.
“The overall aim of our country’s plan is to ultimately access adequate amounts of COVID-19 vaccines to consequently vaccinate at least 70% of our population to achieve an appropriate herd immunity threshold,” said Minister Byron-Nisbett.
The vaccine will be administered to persons 18-80 years of age. Those who are over 80 years will be required to be evaluated by their physicians prior to receiving the vaccine.
Byron-Nisbett explained that administration of the vaccine will be based on an appointment system and those who are interested in being vaccinated may call the health Hotline, 311, or visit the nearest health center to make an appointment.
“Once the first dose of the vaccine is given, persons will be issued with a COVID-19 vaccination record card, as well as an appointment to return in ten weeks for the second dose of the vaccine,” explained the Minister.
During the first phase of the vaccination program, health centers will be used, namely, (in St. Kitts), Newtown, Basseterre, Sandy Point and Tabernacle, while in Nevis, at Charlestown, Gingerland and Commbermere.
In subsequent phases, all 11 health centers in St. Kitts and 6 in Nevis, will be utilized.
Minister Byron-Nisbett encouraged her fellow citizens to come forward to take the vaccine because it is the individual and collective efforts that would best protect the country against the virus.
Featured Photo: Prime Minister Timothy Harris getting vaccinated on Monday afternoon. Photo courtesy Willett’s Photo Studio, St. Kitts