by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The 2021-2022 school year resumes for the second term on January 10, amid the spread of COVID-19 as the fourth wave hits St. Kitts and Nevis; people are wondering how this will affect the upcoming school year.
Dr Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff for the Joseph N France General Hospital, answered that concern during the December 30 COVID-19 press briefing hosted by the National Emergency Operations Center (NEOC).
“The answer to keeping our schools open is to have the children properly protected, and the best protection is the vaccine. The clinics are open… and so I encourage persons to get vaccinated.”
Since the start of the vaccination of 12-17-year-olds in September 2021, the acceptance rate has been low. Over the four months when the vaccine was made available for the adolescent age group, 16.4 percent of the target, 4,800, have received one dose of the vaccine, and 14 percent have received the second.
While 81.4 percent of the adult population have received one dose and 75.9 percent, have received the second.
The acceptance rate of boosters has been low as well, which stands 5.5 percent going back for a third jab, according to the January 2 vaccination report.
“One of the things that we’ve said all along is that the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis is not immune to what is happening around the globe, and so we said right here that a fourth wave was inevitable, that it was only a matter of time before the Omicron variant came here and the best defence we have is to get vaccinated,” said Dr Cameron Wilkinson.
Over the course of the New Year Holiday weekend in the Federation, the health authorities have reported 209 cases as of January 2.
Active cases being monitored are 431.
To help with the risk of spread, the Chief Medical Officer Dr Hazel Laws announced the start of car park COVID-19 testing sites in the Basseterre Health Center, the Mary Charles Hospital and the Pogson Hospital car parks.
The car park testing sites are operational on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays for one hour from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m., and according to the Government information service, the testing will be free.
The CMO urged all who may be exhibiting symptoms (fever, sore throat, sniffles, coughing) to take the opportunity to get tested.