Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): Owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the National Carnival celebration was held virtually for the first time. Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital (JNF) and Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr. Cameron Wilkinson indicated during the October 13, 2021 NEOC press briefing that discussions are ongoing as to lay out of this year’s carnival celebrations given the successful vaccination rollout programme.
“The task force is actively engaging in discussions surround plans for Carnival. Last year December there was a virtual carnival where there were no in-person events and at that time we had zero persons who were vaccinated against COVID-19. So, we believe that the minimum we can have is a virtual Carnival and with the significant vaccination coverage that we have there is latitude for discussion to see how we can have other events. I am pretty certain that you will be hearing more about this so keep your hopes up,” said Dr. Wilkinson.
Carnival celebrations and events draw large crowds and given the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic certain restrictions may be applied. Most recently, the successful hosting of the Hero CplT20 Tournament where only vaccinated patrons were allowed entry may be an applied model for Carnival. Dr. Wilkinson outlined the importance of vaccination in the fight against the deadly COVID-19 virus.
“There is no barrier for you to get the vaccine; you can walk into any clinic during clinic hours and get vaccinated. So, it’s important for you to take advantage of this. The vaccines also as we know have high efficacy, the AstraZeneca is about 84.3 percent and the Pfizer/Biontech is about 95 percent, so it is important for you to take this protective cloak and cover yourself with it. When I spoke about the five deaths we had over the last week, mainly persons who were unvaccinated, we know that the vaccines give you the best chance for survival and it is safe. Billions of doses have been administered globally without any side effects, so we need to step forward and take it. You do not only protect yourself but you also protect those around you who are vulnerable. There are a lot of persons who have children at home who cannot be vaccinated and we have elderly persons who are vulnerable and if they are infected can succumb to COVID-19 so we have to protect them,” Dr. Wilkinson said.
The Medical Chief of Staff further stated that vaccination is also important to protecting and maintain a functioning and efficient healthcare system since in some countries healthcare systems have been crippled due to a large number of COVID-19 cases. As of October 14, 2021, 77.1 percent of the target adult population has received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with another 69.8 percent being fully vaccinated.