by Lissa Joseph
The arrival of 25,000 doses of the COVISHIELD AstraZeneca vaccine on March 1 has significantly boosted Saint Lucia’s ability to manage and mitigate the impacts of COVID-19; and Prime Minister Hon. Allen Chastanet said Government is working to procure enough vaccines to have every Saint Lucian vaccinated.
Noting that access to vaccines is a tedious process, from approval by global health organizations to fighting through the crowded field of purchasing countries, Mr. Chastanet has assured that government will pursue all avenues to have Saint Lucians protected. Talks continue with the Government of India for the purchase of additional vaccines outside of the COVAX Facility.
The AstraZeneca vaccine will not only help in reducing transmission of the virus, but it will also reduce severe COVID-19 infection, hospitalization and death. The vaccine will also help in reducing pressures of treatment and care on the health care system and limit the impact of COVID-19. For this reason, the Prime Minister is encouraging all citizens to get vaccinated.
“Sadly, there are stories out there that are causing persons to second guess whether they should be vaccinated or not,” he said.
“I am hoping that by my example and soon the example of the Cabinet of Ministers and other leaders in the country that persons will be encouraged take the vaccine—not only to protect yourself but to protect everyone else.
“As a caring government our responsibility is to protect all of you. But we also do that in the context of your own civil rights and hopefully we can convince you to do the right thing. Our job is to make sure the vaccine is here, certified and approved by the WHO, and available to you. The rest is up to you.”
The Ministry of Health began the National Vaccination Programme on February 17.