Sixteen percent of Saint Lucia’s population has been fully vaccinated. So said the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs yesterday, pointing out that this is simply not enough and that the vaccination rate should be higher by now.
“Over the past weeks, the significant rise in reported cases and deaths is clearly a concern to us all. The burden on the health system is evident. It is important that every one of us plays our part in addressing this situation. Each one of us has a personal responsibility in the fight against this pandemic,” said Tecla Jn Baptiste, Assistant Principal Nursing Officer and National Immunization Manager.
According to Jn Baptiste, the highest uptake of vaccines is amongst 50 year olds and older, followed by 24-49 year olds.
“We have noted unfavourable outcome in persons of varying age groups and health profiles. Some vaccinated, whilst the significant majority were not. Our condolences to the families and loved ones of these individuals. From February 2021, when vaccines were introduced, until current, statistics show that unvaccinated persons account for 96.6% of hospitalizations,” Jn Baptiste said.
She added that the Ministry continues on its mandate to ensure that the population is vaccinated for protection against the COVID-19 virus.
“As of Saturday, 18 September 2021, 43,431 first doses and 29,146 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine have been administered. Seven months since the introduction of the COVID-19 vaccine to the population, 16.1% of the population has received the two recommended doses of the vaccine,” Jn Baptiste said.
According to her, partially vaccinated people account for 2% of hospitalizations and fully vaccinated 1.4% of hospitalizations.
“Unvaccinated persons account for 96.7% of deaths, partially vaccinated persons account for 2% of deaths, while vaccinated persons account for 1.3% of deaths. It doesn’t get any simpler – vaccines save lives. It reduces the risk of hospitalization and death. Being unvaccinated is a risk, not only for you, but also for those around you,” Jn Baptiste said.
She added, “Of note is the significant number of persons who are partially vaccinated with only one dose of the vaccine. One thousand, eight hundred and forty-three (1,843) persons, 4.2% of total vaccinated incountry, are overdue for their second dose of the vaccine. Again, I reiterate the importance of being fully vaccinated – this is the best way to ensure protection.”