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Encouraging Vaccination During the Fifth Wave of COVID-19

Saint Lucia, as of Monday 17 January 2022, recorded a total of 50,592 persons in the vaccine eligible population as being fully vaccinated, accounting for approximately 28% of the population. 6,089 persons are partially vaccinated; and 5,569 persons have received boosters.

During this current wave, a number of positive COVID-19 cases have been noted in the vaccinated population – what is termed “vaccine breakthrough cases”. These are instances in which an individual tests positive for COVID-19 after being fully vaccinated more than 14 days after completing their primary series.

These cases generally present very mild illness or are asymptomatic. Given the rate of transmission noted in-country, the circulation of the Omicron variant is highly suspicious. Although the cases are less severe and generally mild, the Omicron variant can result in life-threatening illness for the unvaccinated. Unvaccinated people are at higher risk of becoming severely ill and possibly death.

Vaccinated people on the other hand generally experience mild illness if they become infected. The elderly and people living with chronic conditions are at significantly higher risk compared to other groups, given that the risk of severe illness increases with age. Also, an individual’s outcome depends on his/her general health, and the immune system’s ability to fight infections.

With this in mind, persons who are partially vaccinated or have not been vaccinated are encouraged to do so. For those who have been vaccinated more than six (6) months – get boosted.

The risk of becoming infected or having a re-infection; as well as becoming severely ill is significantly increased if not fully vaccinated.

Vaccines are available at all Wellness Centers and vaccination sites. Vaccination still remains the best protection against COVID-19 and its variants; but remember, other measures must also be adhered to for added protection – Continue regular hand washing and sanitizing, wearing a face mask, maintaining physical distance, cleaning surfaces and staying away from others if you have respiratory signs and symptoms.

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