Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 25, 2021 (SKNIS): Undoubtedly, the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has been one of the countries globally that has enjoyed a success story with its astute management of the COVID-19 pandemic. To date, the Federation has not registered a single death from the deadly coronavirus.

The country effectively managed the virus with its robust implementation of non-pharmaceutical measures, that of mask-wearing, social and physical distancing, and hand sanitizing.

With the arrival of the AstraZeneca vaccine under the COVAX facility and the roll-out of its vaccination programme on February 22, 2021, the country has had to struggle with vaccine hesitancy, not in isolation, with a ferocious misinformation and disinformation campaign that has been a pandemic in itself.

COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access, abbreviated as COVAX, is a worldwide initiative aimed at equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines directed by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance (formerly the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization, or GAVI), the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), and the World Health Organization (WHO). It is one of the three pillars of the Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator, an initiative begun in April 2020 by the WHO, the European Commission, and the government of France as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. COVAX coordinates international resources to enable low-to-middle-income countries equitable access to COVID-19 teststherapies, and vaccines.

Like most countries, St. Kitts and Nevis is attempting to vaccinate 70 percent of its total population, which amounts to 33, 037 persons, in order to achieve herd immunity to resume some level of “normal” operations, but it has been a herculean task and there is a rush to use up vaccines that are due to expire the end of June. The country has had the benefit of procuring 41, 600 doses but has to source another 24, 474 of the AstraZeneca shot if it is to reach its vaccination goal.

Be that as it may, the country’s vaccination programme has regained momentum in light of the Ministry of Health’s continuing vaccine education programme, and a recent spike in infections that has brought the total number of confirmed cases as of Monday 24th May 2021, to 60 with 45 persons fully recovered and 15 persons on their way to recovery. The Federal Ministry of Health is busy trying to contain the further spread of the Sars-Cov-2. All public and private schools in the Federation have been closed for two weeks in an effort to mitigate against the fallout.

As of Monday, 24th May 2021, 22, 278 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine have been administered, accounting for 49.4 percent of the total population. Of that number 5, 968 persons have received their second dose amounting to 18.1 percent of the 70 percent of the total population needed for herd immunity.