Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George, has urged members of the public to observe public health measures after receiving the first dose of the Astra Zeneca vaccine.
And she has noted that just one dose of the current COVID-19 vaccine health officials are administering, does not give full coverage.
Belmar-George issued a statement on the issue Wednesday in which she disclosed that as of March 15, over 19,000 people had received their first jab.
Her statement is reproduced in full below:
The Ministry of Health and Wellness commenced roll out of the Astra Zeneca COVID-19 Vaccine on February 17, 2021.
As of March 15, 2021, over 19,000 people have received their first dose of this vaccine.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness is encouraged thus far by the interest shown and the uptake of the vaccine by our citizens and residents.
The vaccine is provided on a voluntary basis and free of charge to the public.
We will continue to provide accurate information about the Astra Zeneca Vaccine to the public to ensure informed decisions are made to keep our families safe from COVID-19.
According to the Interim recommendations by WHO dated February 10, 2021 this
vaccine has an efficacy of 70.4% against symptomatic SARS-CoV-2 infection.
This is after both doses are received.
The vaccine prevents the complicated form of the disease, hospitalizations and deaths from COVID-19 in 100% of persons who received both doses.
The public is therefore reminded that with one dose we are not fully covered as yet.
Also we need between 70-80% of our population to be covered with both doses to get
the full benefit.
This translates to over 126,000 people being vaccinated.
As such, everyone is reminded of the need to continue adhering to the COVID-19 public
health protocols and infection prevention, and control measures that have proven to
reduce COVID-19 Virus transmission.
This will keep us safe after receiving the first dose of the vaccine while the Ministry ramps up the vaccination programme.
These include the following:
– Wash your hands often with soap and flowing water or use alcohol based hand sanitizer
– Wear your mask which covers your nose and mouth
– Maintain physical distance from others and avoid crowded activities
At this time, travelers coming into the country whether vaccinated or not must continue
the public health measures including presenting a negative PCR test done within five
days and 14 days of quarantine upon arrival for 2 main reasons:
– Saint Lucia has not yet achieved herd immunity so we remain susceptible to
getting the virus
– The level of transmission from people who may be fully immunized is not
yet established. It is well documented that the COVID-19 vaccine protects the
person who has received it from becoming ill, but their capacity to transmit is not
The Ministry of Health and Wellness advises the public to remain vigilant and encourage
their family and loved ones to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Ministry will continue to provide COVID-19 updates and on measures to protect
against the virus.