Prime Minister, Philip J. Pierre, has disclosed that his Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration has agreed to become more proactive in health education across all audiences and demographics and as a result, will be ‘ramping up’ its communications strategy against anti-vaxxers.
He asserted that although not the only measure, vaccines are the best defence among a number of other personal and collective interventions against COVID-19.
“We want people to not act out of fear or coercion but to act out of knowledge and confidence that they are making the best choice for themselves, for their family, friends and work circles and their country,” Pierre explained.
He spoke as this country received a first batch of 52, 650 doses of the Pfizer vaccine from the United States during a ceremony Tuesday at the George F.L Charles airport.
Pierre observed while the developed world has achieved high levels of vaccination, the Caribbean has a long way to go.
In the case of this country, the Prime Minister explained that less than 34,000 people have received their first dose and some fourteen percent of the population has been vaccinated.
Pierre revealed that he is one of the nearly two billion people around the world who are fully vaccinated, having taken two doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which were part of a batch donated by India.
External Affairs Minister, Alva Baptiste, who also addressed Tuesday’s ceremony, encouraged all Saint Lucians to get vaccinated.
“I know that there are those who hide in dark places and spread misinformation – the Misinformation Barons of the day, the poisoners of the wellsprings of public opinion shall always be there,” Baptiste explained.
“But as responsible leaders, we will continue to accentuate the need for us to be vaccinated to avoid further pressure on our health care system in Saint Lucia,” he told Tuesday’s ceremony which was also attended by Health Minister, Moses Jn Baptiste, United States Ambassador to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Linda Taglialatela and other officials.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, Saint Lucia has recorded over 6,000 cases of the virus and over 90 deaths.
The country is currently experiencing a new wave of infections with nearly 600 new cases over a seven day period.