by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts-Nevis (WINN) – The government and health officials of St. Kitts-Nevis have been purporting that vaccination is the way to go in order to move past the constraints that the COVID-19 Pandemic has placed on the federation.
They aim to achieve population immunity, with 70-80 percent of the inhabitants fully inoculated, to revive tourism and reboot economic activity.
Currently, 7,071 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine have been administered, 5,102 on St. Kitts and 1,969 on Nevis.
In a recent article from the BBC, the European Union’s regulator the European Medicines Agency (EMA) concluded that the benefits of the AstraZeneca vaccine outweigh the risk and reported that the vaccine was “not associated” with a higher risk of clots.
Medical officials have urged the general public to seek consultation with their general physicians to answer questions they may have concerning the vaccines.
Considering the vaccines are not mandatory as yet, with the whisperings of vaccination passports on the horizon regionally and internationally, it seems to travel anywhere outside your country will require vaccination.
As the tourism industry in the Caribbean is one of its main economic drivers, with Citizenship by Investment tallying behind (and still requiring travel), it seems somewhere between the lines, vaccination could become “mandatory”.
However, what are the options for those still hesitant in taking AstraZeneca? Could private doctors import other vaccines?
Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff of the Joseph N. France General Hospital answered that question at the media event hosted by the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC).
“For one to bring any drugs or vaccines into the country on that scale you must have a pharmacy license and so if any private practitioner has a license they are free to bring in and offer other vaccines,” responded Wilkinson.
Considering the vaccine does not cure, stop the infection or stop transmission, and is not available for people younger than 18, what is in place to stop children from contracting and spreading the virus?
“Although children are relatively less likely to become infected, transmit the virus and be hospitalized, the key question is whether even mild or asymptomatic infection can lead to long COVID in children, said Danny Altmann, professor of immunology at Imperial College London in an article published in the UK’s Guardian newspaper on March 2, 2021.
“The answer is that it certainly can, and the long COVID support groups contain a not insignificant number of children and teens,” Altmann said.
In the Washington Post newspaper, on March 18, 2021, it was reported that “Nearly 3.17 million U.S. children have tested positive for the virus. Few have been hospitalized and even fewer have died, but some children — whether they had mild or severe cases, or no symptoms at all — are developing problems that last for weeks, months after their initial infection.”
The article continued, “According to surveys and studies of small groups of children, the symptoms include fatigue, headache, and heart palpitations.”
Luckily the Federation has not had community spread and vaccinations can help prevent severe illness.
But, only if you take the jab.
It will not be business as usual.
“Anti-vaxers”, mutations, delayed delivery of vaccines, all realistic challenges that spit in the face of a return to what we used to describe as ‘normal’ anytime soon.
We still have a long way to go.