by Eulana Weekes
St. Kitts and Nevis (WINN): The St. Kitts-Nevis COVID-19 Situation Report Number 687, dated Friday, February 18, 2022 shows a decline in active COVID-19 cases, but an increase in COVID-19 related deaths.
Currently, there are 29 active cases in the Federation, 25 in St. Kitts and four in Nevis. Of the 29 active cases, 5 are currently hospitalised. Health officials have also recorded two additional COVID-19 related deaths recorded on St. Kitts, bringing the death toll to 42; 35 in St. Kitts and seven in Nevis.
WINN Media contacted Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N France General Hospital who confirmed the deaths and provided brief details on the situation.
He explained, “Yesterday we added seven new cases and two more deaths.
These again were elderly and unvaccinated. While we are out of the acute phase of the 4th wave and are relaxing restrictions the pandemic is not over and the virus is still here and continues to be a death sentence for some, but it doesn’t have to be so. So far we have had 14 deaths in this fourth wave, 13 of them were unvaccinated. 13 of them, elderly and were not out and about. This over-emphasizes the need for us to be our brother’s keeper. We all need to make sure that all who should be vaccinated go out to the clinics to get their shots and prevent this virus from being a death sentence for some.”
The Omicron variant, the dominant strain in circulation globally and locally, was said to be less severe. However, the severity of the strain is affected by how protected one is against the virus and the trend over the past few weeks of the 4th wave of transmission shows that unvaccinated elderly individuals are at risk.
Dr. Wilkinson appealed for them to be vaccinated, so if someone unknowingly takes the virus home, the elderly would be better protected. He also mentioned that there is an available opportunity for the elderly who are unable to move around to get vaccinated.
“If there is an elderly person who cannot make it to the clinic we can have that organised for them to be vaccinated; you just have to call the nearest health centre and that will be sorted out.”
According to Wilkinson, the clinically vulnerable or individuals with multiple medical conditions still remain at risk. He, therefore, used the opportunity to stress the importance of vaccination and personal responsibility.
“Vaccines have been quite effective at preventing cases of COVID-19 that lead to severe illness and death. Getting vaccinated prevents this virus from becoming a death sentence for most who get infected. The vaccines, however, do not reliably block the transmission of the virus. The result is that even if vaccination were universal, the coronavirus would probably continue to spread. There is no known threshold of vaccination coverage that we know now that will stop the highly transmissible Omicron variant from spreading. All who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated to protect themselves from severe disease, hospitalisation and death.”
He added, “Everyone of us needs to take personal responsibility in this fight because while having a high population immunity threshold will help limit the numbers of persons being hospitalised and dying from the virus, the clinically vulnerable still remain at risk and by that I mean those with multiple medical conditions.”
As it relates to vaccines, St. Kitts and Nevis recently received 3,000 doses of AstraZeneca, which will expire at the end of March and 18,000 doses of Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccines, which will expire in July.
Wilkinson therefore encouraged individuals who are yet to be vaccinated to “not let these precious life saving vaccines go to waste.”