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Dr. Hazel Laws Gives Overview of COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment – Vaccine Rollout to begin on Monday

by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts-Nevis (WINN) – Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws offered a preliminary overview of the Vaccine deployment plans and the priority groups to be targeted with the vaccines.

The vaccine rollout is expected to begin on Monday, February 22 and Cabinet Officials will be the first to take a jab of the COVID-19 Vaccines. Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris made the announcement during his National Assembly address on February 18.

As communicated, through the COVAX Facility, 21,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is the first allocation for St. Kitts-Nevis which would inoculate 10,000 people or 20% of the population. No date on delivery of this allocation has been made.

Additionally, 2000 vaccines were donated by the Commonwealth of Dominica, purchased from India. 

With no date as to when the COVAX vaccines shall arrive, can we assume the vaccines to be rolled out are the ones from Dominica?

Dr. Laws also stated that the Ministry of Health is expected to receive further information during the week of February 22, as to the final allocation of vaccines through COVAX Facility. The final allocation is expected by May 2021.

As part of her presentation Dr. Laws provided an overview of the Vaccine Deployment plans Developed by the Ministry of Health.

The Ministry of Health is also developing a Registry in collaboration with the IT department, as well as a database to capture any side-effects from vaccinated people for a minimum of three months.

Dr. Laws also mentioned that a comprehensive three-stage communication strategy has been developed by the Ministry of health but no specifics were shared in her address.

She welcomed volunteers who would act as advocates to help inform the public of the importance of taking the vaccines while promoting its safety.

See below the breakdown of priority grouping:

Priority Groups – Three Stages:

Stage 1 – 

  • Stage 1a – Healthcare Workers (High – Very High Risk): All Specialist and Internists, Doctors and Nurses on the ·COVID-19 Ward, in the Operating Theater, Intensive Care Unit, Accident & Emergency, COVID-19 Testers, Health Center Nurse managers and Aids and Emergency Medical Services  
  • Stage 1b – Border Protection Staff along the corridor of containment: Port Health, Immigration, Customs, Ground Transportation (Taxi Drivers), Hotel Workers at Front Desk, Security and Lobby.
  • Stage 1c – Executive Arm of Government and Essential Workers outside of the Health Sector including – police and defense force, coast guard, fire and rescue 
  • Stage 1d – Older Adults (60 – 79 yrs.) with chronic diseases and two or more of the following comorbidities: Diabetes, Respiratory conditions like Emphysema and Asthma, Renal Disease, Auto-Immune Conditions and coagulopathies
  • Stage 1e – Emergency reserve of vaccines for utilization for outbreak response and mitigation 

Stage 2 – 

  • Stage 2a – Healthcare Workers (High – Very High Risk): in Nursing Homes(Public and Private), in Home Care Services, COVID-19 Laboratory Staff
  • Stage 2b – Older Adults (60 – 79 yrs.) with no or one comorbidity, in nursing homes, in homecare – (NB: Older adults 80+ yrs. would be medically evaluated for suitability of receiving the vaccine.)
  • Stage 2c – Persons under 60 yrs. with chronic diseases and the following co-morbidities: Diabetes, Respiratory conditions like Emphysema and Asthma, Renal Disease, Auto-Immune Conditions and coagulopathies  
  • Stage 2d- Socioeconomic Groups including low-income migrant settlements (St. Kitts – Newtown, Irish Town/McKnight, Market Street; Nevis – Low Street, Craddock Rd and Barth Village), disadvantaged persons registered in the Social Security benefit system, persons with disabilities, low-income groups, hard to reach populations, Mental Health Day Treatment Center (Mental Disease)

Stage 3 – 

  • Stage 3a – School Teachers and staff in Early Childhood, Primary, Secondary and Tertiary Institutions.
  • Stage 3b – Essential Workers outside of the Health Sector including – police and defense force, municipal services, other civil servants, agriculture and food industry workers, ground and sea transportation drivers 
  • Stage 3c – Social Employment Groups – prisons workers and residents, manufacturing industry workers, New Horizons Detention Center, the Children’s Home, offshore medical school dorms 
  • Stage 3d – Healthcare Workers (low risk): Medical Ward Staff, Surgical Ward Staff, Cardin Home Staff. Flamboyant Nursing Home Staff, MOH Administration and Clerical Staff 
  • Stage 3e – Persons at high risk of transmitting the infection, young and middle age adults

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