Saint Lucia Wednesday received its first batch of 24,000 Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine doses under the COVAX facility.
Local officials say vaccines bring hope amid the current COVID-19 pandemic.
The vaccines which arrived Wednesday morning will largely go towards providing a second dose to almost 23,000 individuals here who have already accepted their first jab.
Health Minister, Mary Isaac, speaking at a brief ceremony at the Hewanorra International airport, praised this country’s frontline workers.
She acknowledged that they have been under pressure as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However Isaac said she has heard critics bringing ‘all the negativity’.
Nevertheless, she expressed the view that the training frontline workers have received has made them ‘tough’.
“Their training helps them to understand why some people can be so uncaring, why some people can say and do such evil things – to take all this effort that they are putting into the work that they do and reduce it sometimes almost to nothing,” Isaac told the ceremony.
“I lament the fact that it is our own people who are doing this to us,” the Minister declared.
Isaac said she knows that nationally, regionally and internationally, Saint Lucia, its health care workers and the Ministry of Health are held in ‘very high regard’.
In addition, she praised the work of Prime Minister Allen Chastanet and the rest of her colleagues in cabinet.
Isaac also praised Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Sharon Belmar-George for ‘standing strong’ and withstanding the battering of negative criticism.
She said there were others whose names she had not mentioned, but who should know that their work is appreciated.
The Ministry of Health says Saint Lucia is down to receive 74,400 vaccine doses under the COVAX facility.
Health officials here are hoping that in achieving ‘herd immunity’, life may return to ‘a semblance of normalcy.’