8th Despite repeated appeals from the authorities, Saint Lucia continues to lag in its goal to achieve 70 percent vaccination coverage of the population.
“ Saint Lucia’s vaccination coverage as at February 14, 2022 is 28.5% – very far from achieving the 70% milestone. 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,” National Immunisation Manager Tecla Jn Baptiste urged.
Jn Baptiste noted that while Saint Lucia has documented a decline in the number of reported COVID-19 cases during the current fifth wave, people must continue to adhere to protocols, including vaccination as the most effective strategy.
She explained that viruses mutate, resulting in 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. What we know is that the more unvaccinated persons we have in our population, the more likely it is for variants to reproduce and spread. Why? Unvaccinated people have less protection against COVID-19 thereby allowing more of the virus to multiply in them if they become infected,” the National Immunisation Manager observed.
Jn Baptiste, however, noted that on the contrary, the 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.
And while admitting there’s still a lot to learn about how variants adversely affect vaccinated persons, Jn Baptiste, also Assistant Principal Nursing Officer, observed that more vaccinated people are getting infected during the current fifth wave, referred to as ‘breakthrough infections’.
But she noted that symptoms were generally mild, were of a shorter duration, or in many cases, asymptomatic.
The complete statement appears below: