COVID-19 vaccination rollout: Over 600 persons already vaccinated, says PM Harris

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, February 27, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — St. Kitts and Nevis, which aims at having 70 percent of its population vaccinated against Covid-19, is on track to achieve the milestone with over 600 persons having been vaccinated since Monday February 22 when the vaccine rollout was launched at the New Town Community Centre in Basseterre.

“For the week so far, over 600 persons have gone to get their vaccination,” revealed Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris on Saturday February 27. “Over 600 persons, and ask yourself ‘600 have gone, why not me?’ What are you waiting for? So, I just want to encourage you by and large to be part of the programme and go quickly. The life you will save may very well be your own.”

Prime Minister Harris gave the information at the Ottley’s hardcourts at the end of the popular Prime Minister’s Monthly Health Walk, which had taken participants from Bellevue to Ottley’s in Constituency Number Seven, where a special session was held sensitise walk participants and members of the general public on the importance of being vaccinated.

“I just want to say that the vaccine is good for you, and that is why the entire government ministers have gone to get the vaccine,” assured Dr Harris. “That is why close to 30 medical doctors, some of them you know, have gone to take this vaccine. Do not be the one that is left out, for when you look at some who are going and some who are yet to go, you have to wonder if people are not noticing.”

Also addressing walk participants and telling them about the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 Vaccine were Minister of Health the Hon Akilah Byron-Nisbett, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health Dr Delores Stapleton-Harris, National HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinator and Health Educator Dr Mathias Afortu-Ofre, medical practitioners Dr Dail Crawford and Dr Leroy Richardson, and District Medical Officer Dr Bernicia Nisbett who is also the Deputy Speaker.

According to Prime Minister Harris, the vaccine is being provided free of cost while it is coming at a very high price. Organisation of the Eastern Caribbean (OECS) countries will on Sunday February 28 receive 125,000 doses of vaccine from India costing EC$700,000 bought through the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB). Prime Minister Harris, who is the chairman of the ECCB Monetary Council, had earlier in the week stated that the Federation would receive 41,600 doses of the vaccines, which is in addition to 2,000 doses it had previously received.

“The world is changing rapidly – you now have to carry your negative test to most countries when you are travelling,” reminded the Honourable Prime Minister. “I believe the next step, once you want to travel, you are going to have to show that you have been vaccinated. Do not wait until you find yourself in an emergency to be looking to say you want to get vaccinated.”

Further Prime Minister Harris informed walk participants that a vaccination session was taking place that morning between 9:00 and 11:30 at the Newtown Health Centre, where a number of security force officers, from the Prisons, Police, and Fire and Rescue Services were going to get their vaccine. He noted that the government wants the entire country to be vaccinated.

Addressing his constituents, Dr Harris said: “You have in this constituency the opportunity to get vaccinated at the Molineux Health Centre, and you have the opportunity to do so at the Tabernacle Health Centre. At least those are two places, but I am sure if you go to any health centre, you will not be turned back, and we want to increase.”

Inviting persons to join him at the St. Kitts Nevis Anguilla National Bank 50th Anniversary church service to be held at the Rivers of Living Water Christian Centre in Lime Kiln, West Basseterre, on Sunday February 28 at 5:00 pm, Prime Minister Harris ended by saying: “If you can make it, you are invited. Please wear your mask. Until we reach what Dr Crawford called ‘herd immunity’, that is having at least 70 percent of the people in the country vaccinated, you will still need to wear your mask.”

As a further defence, Dr Harris advised persons to continue wearing the masks even when they take vaccines, “because remember, until a certain number has done it, they will put all of us at risk, and that is why you have to be encouraging your friends, your family members so that they will be part of the circle of people you know who are vaccinated. That is why the entire Cabinet has been vaccinated. So when we are sitting down at the table, we know all of us have done what we can to protect ourselves.”