BASSETERRE, St. Kitts (Friday 23rd April 2021)-Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws says the current supply of the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine available in St.Kitts-Nevis has to be used by June 2021.
She made the disclosure while speaking at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) COVID-19 Briefing held on Wednesday 21st April 2021.
Dr. Laws informed that to date, the Federation would have received a total of 41,600 doses which is being offered to adults age 18 and over.
“So initially, we received 20,000 and then on April 7th we received an additional 21, 600 doses. Now ladies and gentlemen, the shelf life for these vaccines is quite short and so we have to utilize, we have to use up all these vaccines by the end of June this year. So persons saying ‘ I’m gonna wait’…please note that the shelf life of the vaccines is quite short and they must be utilized before on or before the end of June this year.”
She reminded that St.Kitts-Nevis’ aim is to attain the herd immunity threshold.
“Now the science tells us that this is anywhere between 70 to 90% of our population but in our situation, based on our last census, the adults in St.Kitts comprise of about a little over 70% of our population and so our aim is to vaccinate 70% of our population, the adults in our population and based on the rate at which we are vaccinating, we hope to achieve this goal by about September of this year, and so we are hoping that most of the adults would come onboard in terms of accepting this vaccine.”
According to her, as of that afternoon after the health centres were closed, some 11,848 doses were administered since the vaccine rollout awareness campaign began on Monday 22nd February 2021.
“In other words, we would have covered 35.86 % of the target population with at least the first dose of this vaccine.”
The breakdown, she reported, was 8,935 in St.Kitts and 2,913 doses in Nevis.
The CMO urged individuals to get vaccinated.
“Protect yourself against COVID-19, choose to vaccinate because in so doing you will be protecting yourself as I said before, once you are fully vaccinated you would have an 83% risk reduction in picking up the virus; very, very small risk. So in other words, let’s put it in ordinary terms, if perchance we have clusters cases of COVID-19 if we go into community transmission and the virus is spreading, once you are fully vaccinated the risk of your contracting disease is very slim and perchance you do, it prevents you from becoming very ill (and) it prevents death.”
“Once you are fully vaccinated, and full vaccination means you would have received the two doses of this vaccine and we are administering the doses 10 weeks apart,” she told.
As understood, this particular vaccine (Oxford/AstraZeneca) is stored in fridge 2C to 8C unto six months
Dr. Laws explained that the World Health Organization (WHO) “advises us that if you administer these two doses, 8 to 12 weeks apart, the individual who is fully vaccinated can enjoy an 83% risk reduction in contracting COVID-19.”
“And please note that this vaccine provides good protection against the SARS COVID 2 variant identified in the United Kingdom and also based on the latest science coming out, this vaccine also provides some protection against the SARS 2 COVID variant identified in South Africa and Brazil,” she pointed out.