by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): With the community spread of COVID-19 now a reality in the Federation and all schools closed for two weeks, health officials have instituted longer hours for clinics to remain open as the push to vaccinate takes on renewed urgency.
The Federation has received 41,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Health officials planned to offer two doses of AstraZeneca, 10 weeks apart, in deference to the World Health Organisation’s advice that a period of 8-12 weeks achieves higher efficacy of the vaccine.
With the current batch of vaccines due to expire on June 27, the period between doses is likely to shorten.
As of Monday, 24 May, 22,278 doses were administered, 5,968 of which were second doses.
That means the country at that point had 4,490 first doses available and 14,832-second doses.
Efforts to combat vaccine hesitancy include public awareness campaigns and policies that require employees to vaccinate or to pay for RT-PCR tests every two weeks.
Another issue is that of herd immunity or vaccination of 70 percent of the population.
To achieve that goal, the Federation will have to source another 24,474 doses of AstraZeneca or switch to another vaccine that’s in the market. With so many vaccines still in storage and a looming expiration date drawing closer, it is unclear when another batch of vaccines will arrive in St. Kitts and Nevis.