Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): A total of 622 individuals have received booster shots since the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis rolled out its COVID-19 booster programme in early November for persons who qualify, said Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph Nathaniel France (JNF) General Hospital, during Wednesday’s (December 01) edition of the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) COVID-19 Briefing.
“As of this evening [December 01], we have administered boosters to 622 individuals. About 50 plus persons have been coming forward per day since we started administering the boosters with a record 93 persons getting the extra protection today,” said Dr. Wilkinson. “Persons have been coming forward voluntarily for booster shots to give themselves extra protection against this deadly virus.”
Dr. Wilkinson noted that while adults are utilizing the extra protection, it is also important to protect the vast majority of children ages 12-17 with the vaccine that was made available for them.
“We cannot choose to protect ourselves but leave the children who are the future of this country unprotected. So, I urge you as parents or guardians to give your child the best fighting chance against COVID-19 which is the vaccine,” said the Medical Chief of Staff.
As explained by Dr. Wilkinson, a “COVID-19 booster shot is an additional dose of the vaccine given after the protection provided by the original shots has begun to decrease over time. The booster is, therefore, designed to help people maintain their level of immunity for longer.”
He noted that every adult 18 and over should get a booster, adding that the “oldest should make it a priority as they are the ones more likely to have pre-existing conditions and to have the worst outcome if infected with COVID-19.”
Once eligible, a booster can be taken six months after the second dose of the vaccine is administered. This can be done by visiting the nearest health center and no appointment is needed. It is important to note that Pfizer-BioNTech will be administered as the booster.
“Evidence shows that these mRNA vaccines work best as boosters even if you received a different vaccine for your first two doses. The booster is effective, as a worldwide study shows that boosters significantly increase protection against illness from COVID-19,” he said, “The study shows that two weeks after a booster dose protection levels increase to 93.1 percent for those who had AstraZeneca as their first two doses and 94 percent for those who had Pfizer.”
Figures from December 02 Vaccination Report indicate that 73.9 percent of the adult target population is fully vaccinated. Additionally, 12.0 percent of children between ages 12 and 17 years are fully vaccinated.