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SKN Government not mandating vaccinations

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by Kevon Browne

St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The Government has not mandated vaccinations for the COVID-19 virus for children of St. Kitts and Nevis.

The Federation received a donation of 11,700 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from international countries on Thursday. This donation has not been allocated for our population of children under 12 years old.

Minister of Health Akilah Byron Nisbett said the government will share the public health information about the pandemic’s impact and benefits of vaccination, but the decision to inoculate yourself or your children is a matter of personal choice.

“We are not in a position right now to suggest whether or not we would make it [the vaccine] mandatory. We continue in the same vein, where we give you the information to allow you to make an informed decision as to whether or not you want to be vaccinated. And so, at this point in time, we are still not looking at mandatory vaccinations from [the government’s] position,” Byron Nisbett explained.

St. Kitts and Nevis was among the first of six countries allotted vaccines as part of the US Government’s donation of 837,000 Pfizer vaccines to Caribbean nations. The Bahamas is expected to receive 397,000 doses; Trinidad and Tobago, over 305,000 doses; Barbados, 70,200 doses; St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 35,100; and Antigua and Barbuda, 17,550 doses.

There is no date as to when the rollout of the Pfizer vaccines will be administered.

According to Pfizer, the vaccines are shipped in thermal shippers, which maintain ultra-cold temperatures using dry ice. The vaccine can last up to 30 days by refilling these shippers with dry ice every five days.

The vaccines can then be transferred to a freezer for up to 2 weeks, then to a refrigerator for up to 1 month (31 days). Additional guidelines suggest that administrators use the vaccine within six hours once the vial is punctured and once thawed the vaccine cannot be placed back in the freezer.

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