Saint Lucia’s vaccination coverage as of Monday, February 14, 2022 stood at 28.5% – very far from the 70% milestone government has been pushing for since the introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine in country.
Stating that the pandemic is still raging and COVID-19 continues to affect the population, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs calls on Saint Lucians to be vigilant and maintain the public health measures the Ministry of Health recommends.
“While we have documented a decline in the number of reported cases during this current wave, we must continue to adhere to protocols, including vaccination as the most effective strategy. Viruses mutate resulting in the emergence of more transmissible variants as demonstrated by SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19. More alarmingly, we expect COVID-19 disease to be associated with the development of newer variants,” the ministry noted in a statement.
Explaining that the more unvaccinated persons in the population, the more likely it is for variants to reproduce and spread, the ministry stated that unvaccinated people have less protection against COVID-19 thereby allowing more of the virus to multiply in them if they become infected.
Further, a vaccinated person has a level of immunity, which creates a hostile environment for the virus to multiply, thus protecting the community from developing severe disease.
“During this wave, we noted more people who were vaccinated becoming infected – referred to as breakthrough infections. However, symptoms were generally mild, were of a shorter duration, or in many cases, asymptomatic. COVID-19 vaccines are highly effective and provide significant levels of protection, ranging from less infection, decreased severe disease, minimal hospitalization and deaths,” noted the ministry.
The ministry added that some people who are vaccinated may be infected because vaccines are not 100% effective. Consequently, it is of utmost importance to continue practicing public health measures even after a person is vaccinated.
“Therefore, it is important and prudent for the eligible population to get vaccinated, which covers the first, second or booster dose. Fighting the COVID-19 pandemic has proven to be a challenge for all of us, but we must keep up the fight and remain resolute,” stated the ministry.
The Ministry of Health encourages everyone, especially the youth to get vaccinated explaining that presently, Saint Lucia is progressing towards the procurement of vaccines for children 5 to 11 years, with the hope that as soon as the pediatric vaccines are available, it will be administered in Saint Lucia.
“This milestone can only be achieved by widespread acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines. Let us all take personal responsibility – get vaccinated to protect ourselves, loved ones and the general population,” the ministry stated.