Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 29, 2021 (SKNIS):  In response to the first cluster of COVID-19 cases detected in the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Ministry of Health, in collaboration with the National COVID-19 Task Force, has undertaken a robust testing strategy. It was announced during the May 28, 2021, NEOC Briefing by the Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France (JNF) General Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, that out of the 570 plus persons tested all results returned negative.

“The results that were returned from testing brought great news, as the 570 persons of significant contact tested, all 570 plus test were negative. These results point toward the containment of the virus. We will continue to widen the web of contact tracing to encircle and contain this deadly virus,” said Dr. Wilkinson.

“We need to continue to prepare for this attack and the next by having as many persons as possible over the age of 18 vaccinated. Let us continue to protect ourselves and our school children and the elderly…. As adults you can protect yourself by getting vaccinated along with the continued use of the non-pharmaceuticals that have kept us safe over the last year,” he said.

Dr. Wilkinson further stated that the Federation should expect more positive COVID-19 cases as the contact tracing exercise proceeds over the next 14 days. In addressing questions about the vaccination dosage period and the preference of the PCR-Test on arrival in the Federation, Dr. Wilkinson reiterated that all decisions taken are based on science.

“We were using a dosing interval of 10 weeks but have now readjusted this for some. The vaccine is given in two doses, the minimum interval is actually 28 days. The dosing interval recommended by the manufacturer is four to twelve weeks. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends it is used between eight and twelve weeks. The efficacy after the first dose is 76 percent; the efficacy climbs up to 82.4 percent after the second dose. The longer the dosing interval, the higher the efficacy and the highest efficacy was seen when given between ten to twelve weeks after the first dose. There is absolutely no health risks to persons having a shorter dosing period between four and ten weeks,” said Dr. Wilkinson.

In support of the use of the PCR- test instead of the Rapid COVID-19 test at ports of entry across the Federation, Dr. Wilkinson indicated that although the rapid test may be fast it is also highly inaccurate with a highly false-negative rate. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Health has mandated only the PCR-Test to be accepted for entry into the Federation. St. Kitts and Nevis is only one of a handful of countries globally to record no deaths related to COVID-19.