Basseterre, St. Kitts (SKNIS): During the November 23, 2021 edition of ‘Leadership Matters’ hosted by Prime Minister Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Hazel Laws spoke to the importance of following all the necessary precautions in an effort to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus across the Federation.
“The risk of the fourth wave is real. Let us do all we can to prevent and mitigate its impact on our society. The experts predict that 2022 will be brighter than 2021 for countries like ours that are well vaccinated against COVID-19. Let’s press on with our vaccination programme; there is light at the end of the pandemic tunnel…We are almost there; the current situation on the ground is favourable, however, this is not the time for complacency. We are not yet out of the wood; the pandemic is ongoing. The Sars COVID-2 virus is circulating and can be reintroduced into our Federation during the Christmas and Carnival seasons with the expected influx of travelers,” said CMO Dr. Laws.
The CMO pointed to the situation in other Eastern Caribbean islands such as Barbados, Grenada, and Dominica where they are still experiencing surges in COVID-19 cases, and also in many places in Europe which can be considered the epicenter of the ongoing pandemic.
The Ministry of Health has thus far undertaken a successful vaccination programme allowing persons across the Federation to benefit from access to the COVID-19 vaccines. CMO Dr. Laws also outlined a number of ways in which vaccination offers protection to persons in the fight against COVID-19, in particular teenage students and the elderly.
“The COVID-19 vaccine is the best weapon we have to fight this virus so far. We must strengthen and continue our vaccination programme that has been so successful. The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Education will be organizing vaccination drives targeting teenagers in our secondary schools. We want to use this forum to encourage all parents and guardians to be receptive and provide consent for your child to be vaccinated. Vaccinating our teenagers will create a safer school environment and ensure face-to-face engagement and learning. We want to target and empower unvaccinated persons who are working in high-risk sectors like within the hotel and tourism industry and even in the health sector. We are hoping these people recognize their vulnerability, come forward, and accept the vaccine,” said CMO Dr. Laws.
As of November 24, 2021, 79.8 percent of the adult population had received at least the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, with 73.3 percent of adults being fully vaccinated against COVID-19 within the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis.