Saint Lucia launched its COVID-19 vaccination campaign on February 17, 2021.
The initial focus was on people who are at the greatest risk of exposure to the virus or to having severe outcomes if they contract it. As such for the past two weeks, the emphasis has been placed on reaching the target groups in Phases 1A and 1B, ensuring that as many people in these target groups are protected.
That include frontline workers within clinical and national security settings, senior citizens and people living with chronic health conditions.
As of Tuesday March 9, 2021 a total of 10,437 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine has been administered. The response at the various vaccination sites has been very encouraging. “This level of interest we see as an appreciation by our citizens of the health benefits of the vaccines and the opportunity it presents for regaining some measure of normality as continue to fight the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The vaccination campaign has been undertaken by bringing together partners across all sectors and with a wide range of interest. The partnership, started within the health care sector, with the public and private health care practitioners undertaking national vaccination efforts collaboratively. The successful roll-out of the campaign also requires the involvement of our non-health allies across all sectors nationally including the commercial, tourism, education and transportation sectors to name just a few. It is important that these sectors are targeted as people within these groupings are at medium risk of being exposed to COVID-19.
In the coming weeks, mass vaccination exercises will be undertaken for the second phase of our campaign. We encourage people who fall within Phase Two to pre-register to receive their vaccine. Pre-registering is valuable to us at the Ministry of Health as it assists us in our forward planning for the logistics and resources required at vaccination sites. By so doing it helps in better meeting your demand as we continue vaccinations nationally.
The Ministry of Health is aware that there are individuals with special needs including the elderly and people with mobility challenges who are unable to access the vaccination sites. These individuals, their family or care-givers are encouraged to contact the Community Wellness Center nearest to them, to register their loved ones. Vaccination will be facilitated through home visits by the Community Health Nurses.
Vaccines have proven to save lives. People are therefore encouraged to access the various sites for the vaccine. Ensure that a valid form of identification is taken with you when coming for the vaccine to assist in entering you into our national Health Management Information System. Upon entry into a site each individual will be registered by one of our team members, this will be followed by the administering of the vaccine, after which, there will be an observation period of 15 minutes to monitor for any immediate adverse events which may occur after vaccination. Health Educators and nurses will also provide information on the vaccine as well as provide guidance on how to manage any side effects which may occur.