Although Prime Minister Allen Chastanet is on record as having indicated that he would be among the first to take a COVID-19 vaccine, a former Saint Lucia Health Minister has balked at the idea.
“Personally I will not take it presently,” declares Dr. Keith Mondesir.
Explaining why, the former Health Minister told St Lucia Times that the vaccine introduces the virus into the body.
According to Mondesir, the body can react in many ways.
He noted that even now people who have taken COVID-19 vaccines have had allergic reactions.
Last week UK authorities warned that people with a “significant history of allergic reactions” should not be given the Pfizer/BioNTech coronavirus vaccine.
The warning came after two health care workers experienced symptoms after receiving a shot the day before.
“It’s a fact that it has not been tested in the field but because of the emergency, people are taking it,” Dr. Mondesir told St Lucia Times.
“I would quicker go in and do what we did to allow no form of infection among Saint Lucians as we had once upon a time. This is why my insistence on closing the front door to give time to manage what you have inside,” the former Minister asserted.
As far as he is concerned, it would be better to give sufficient time for the field reports on the vaccine and the reactions to it to be obtained before taking it.
“Remember the polio vaccine that children are getting took about 5 to ten years before being introduced,” Mondesir said.
On July 10, Saint Lucia signed onto the COVAX Facility, which is a global mechanism to source COVID-19 vaccines.
It is estimated that the first vaccine supply should be available by March 2021.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness says it has organized a COVID-19 Immunization Committee which is planning the roll out of the vaccine in country with the support of the Pan-American Health Organization.
According to the Ministry, the plan will entail a health education and communication module scheduled to commence in January 2021 ahead of the introduction of the vaccine.
“We intend to monitor closely the use of the vaccine in the developed countries commencing this month, to gain some insight of factors which supported its roll out, barriers and any key lessons learnt which can be applied to our country,” the Ministry disclosed in a statement.
Headline photo caption: Dr. Keith Mondesir (Stock photo)