By Devonne Cornelius
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN) — The government of St. Kitts and Nevis has begun engaging with the developers of the Pfizer BioNtech COVID-19 vaccine, says Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Mark Brantley who was at the time speaking at his April 28, 2021, monthly press conference when he made that disclosure.
“The cabinet at the federal level has asked me to assist in diplomatic efforts to secure additional doses of the vaccine. We have engaged with Pfizer, and just so the public has an appreciation with the difficulties, Pfizer has said to us that because demand is so far outstripped in supply, that they will not even be willing to have a conversation with us about vaccines until July.
And so if we were to have a conversation with Pfizer, starting in July, we will not be able to get any vaccines [from PFizer] until perhaps November,” the Foreign Affairs Minister said.
St. Kitts and Nevis is currently administering the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, approved by the World Health Organization, to people aged 18 to 80.
Mr. Brantley, Premier and senior Minister of Health in the Nevis Island Administration, also urged people on Nevis to take advantage of the vaccine that is being offered at all health centers on the island free of cost.
“As of yesterday[April 27], some 2,972 persons on the island of Nevis had received their first shot of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine. The numbers are nowhere near where we would like to see them because the medical team has advised that 70 percent is the benchmark. As presently advised, we are at about 36 percent of where we need to be and wider in the federation, I’m told, we are at a similar percentage.
It means then we have some work to do…and the numbers each day have not been particularly encouraging as we know there is an element of vaccine hesitancy in the general populace. We continue to call on our people to be responsible…and to think of the vaccine as a protection for them and their families but also for their community, their island, and country,” the senior Health Minister stated.
As of April 28, 2021, 3,004 persons on Nevis have taken their first shot of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, and 9,428 persons on St. Kitts totaling 12,432 representing 37.6 percent of the target population.