by Kevon Browne
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): Now that St. Kitts and Nevis has administered all 41,850 vaccine doses that were in stock, what’s next?
Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital Dr. Cameron Wilkinson posted online that all vaccine doses have been used.
Although we are almost at a week through a two-week 24-hour lockdown from June 27 to July 11, the government allowed people access to health centers until the expiration date of the vaccine on June 30.
But now what?
Friday afternoon, that question was answered by Prime Minister Timothy Harris in an address to the nation when he announced that the country had in hand 5000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Given the general global shortage of vaccines I have been engaged with a number of CARICOM heads and through bilateral diplomatic arrangements, we have secured an additional 5000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines. These vaccines have an expiration date of August 31, 2021.”
Dr. Harris also announced the resumption of vaccine administration on Thursday, July 8, 2021; the start of the second two-day reprieve from the 24-hour lockdown.
The Federation still needs close to 20,000 vaccines to reach herd immunity. According to the numbers provided, 10,100 people need to get their first dose and 14,124 need the second dose to achieve herd immunity.
There is no clear date as to when the next shipment of vaccines is set to arrive in the federation.
An additional shipment of 21,600 vaccines from the COVAX facility is expected between July and September.
The U.S. has committed to donating six million doses of vaccines to the Caribbean region through the COVAX facility.
The Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Dr. Carissa Etienne said that 15 member countries will receive approximately six million of the 25 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines that the United States (US) has earmarked for deployment to help ease the global shortage, she made those remarks during PAHO’s COVID-19 digital briefing on June 30
The nations include countries in Central and South America, and the Caribbean, inclusive of CARICOM member states.
1.5 million of the doses arrived on June 27, and the first allocation was dispatched to Honduras.
Within the region, Barbados recently received 30,000 Sinopharm vaccines from China.
That vaccine reportedly has a 79 percent efficacy rate against SARS-CoV-2 infections, according to Barbados’ Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Kenneth George.
Antigua and Barbuda also received 20,000 Sinopharm vaccines from China.
In a COVID-19 situation report to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister, Gaston Browne shared concern over the long-standing effects of COVID-19 on Small Island Developing States (SIDS) especially as it relates to vaccine access.
“With the economic onslaught of the pandemic SIDS have limited access to vaccines. We still have a problem globally of vaccine nationalization and that is compounded by the fact that traveling trade has incurred [losses]… thereby inflicting great wounds on our economies. So we now run the risk of disintegrating into what I consider to be economic sclerosis, eroding decodes of hard [earned] gains. Our tourism industry is all but at a standstill, our economies are shattered and there’s much anxiety among SIDS of a protracted pandemic.”