Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 22, 2021 (SKNIS): The ongoing vaccination programme across the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has been of great success thus far in the fight against the COVID-19 virus. During the June 21, 2021, NEOC COVID-19 Press Briefing, Medical Chief of Staff of the Joseph N. France Hospital (JNF), Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, indicated that efforts to reach herd immunity through vaccination will continue as the Federation tackles a new wave of cases.

“Herd immunity is not a panacea, herd immunity is not an on and off switch and there is not a herd immunity day where we reach a certain threshold and we celebrate. Herd immunity is not something that is achieved and you celebrate with a victory lap because we are going to have to continue fighting this virus until it is eliminated from the world,” said Dr. Wilkinson.

Relatively, St, Kitts and Nevis has managed well to date, with the fourth-lowest death rate and the highest overall vaccination rate of any CARICOM Member State during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Wilkinson also stated that the mode of gaining herd immunity differs from country to country and that it was the responsibility of health officials to tailor the approach which would best suit the Federation.

“The COVAX Facility has tried to ensure the equitable distribution of vaccines across the globe, with the goal of every country vaccinating at least 20 percent of its adult population. The threshold that has been identified is somewhere between 70-85 percent, this threshold can either move up or move down. We can also have a country with an 85 percent population threshold but still pockets of persons who are not vaccinated, you can still have a reemergence of the virus. So, there is no safe zone but the higher the proportion of persons vaccinated in a population, the safer we will be. We need to get a significant portion of the country vaccinated and with the vaccine we have available,” said Dr. Wilkinson.

As of June 21, 2021, a total of 33,928 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines have been administered across the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, with 67.6 of the target population receiving at least one dose and 35 percent receiving their second dose.