Published 1 February, 2021
Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis News Source
Source: BVI NEWS
With 8,000 COVID-19 vaccines scheduled to arrive in the territory in just under a week, members of the general public interested in taking the vaccine will be able to do so when the Ministry of Health establishes a platform to register for inoculation.
This is according to the Health Minister Carvin Malone who made the announcement during a media conference on Thursday.
“The first tranches of vaccine donated by the UK government are expected to arrive in the territory on February 4th when 8,000 doses of the AstraZeneca AZD1222 will arrive in the territory,” Malone said.
“The Ministry of Health is in the process of reviewing the necessary information systems to allow persons in the general public to register their interest to be vaccinated. Persons are asked to remain patient and it is the intent of the government to ensure that everyone who wishes to have the vaccine is able to have access to it,” he added.
Five-phase approach to distributing vaccine
Malone also said his ministry, through the recently appointed steering committee, will be using a five-phase approach to distribute the vaccine to the population.
The first phase will include healthcare and frontline workers. The second phase will be persons older than 60 as well as people with underlying health conditions that put them at risk of severe COVID-19 symtoms or death. The third phase consists of essential workers such as teachers, school staff, workers and persons in care homes, shelters, prisoners and prison staff, and hospitality workers — all of who are considered to be at high-risk of being exposed to the virus.
The fourth and fifth phases will include young adults and all remaining residents, respectively.
Vaccines free at public health entities
The health minister further said that all vaccines will be free for persons utilising the public health services, while persons who opt to use private medical facilities will incur a small fee.
He said: “The government is committed to providing this vaccine without cost to the public through the public health system and also making it available through private providers and will seek to ensure that access through the private sector will be at a reasonable cost.”
He added: “Members of the public are asked to remain patient and calm as the committees do their work to ensure a safe and efficient roll-out of vaccines across the territory.”
According to Malone, the disbursement of these first 8,000 vaccines will be used as a guide to determine the government’s approach in acquiring more vaccines for the territory in the future.