Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 18, 2021 (SKNIS): During the February 17 National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) Press Briefing, medical officials shared with the public that the COVID-19 vaccine will be given in three stages.
Medical Chief of Staff at the JNF General Hospital, Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, stated that when determining who will be vaccinated first, the World Health Organization (WHO) has three goals in mind. These include to decrease serious death and serious disease as much as possible, preserve the functioning of society, and reduce the extra burden COVID-19 is having on people already facing disparities.
Speaking to the stage approach, the Chief Medical Officer said that enough vaccines are available to cover 20 percent of the population. Therefore, vaccination will be done through prioritizing and targeting.
“The National Immunization Committee has met and determined the target groups for the various stages,” she said. “So we will roll out this plan in three stages.”
In Stage 1a, it would be health care workers as they are at high to very risk. These workers include all specialists and internists, doctors and nurses on the COVID-19 Ward, the Operating Theatre, Intensive Care Unit, Accident and Emergency, COVID-19 Testers, Health Centre Nurse Managers, Aids and Emergency Medical Services.
Stage 1b includes border protection staff along the corridor of containment: Port Health, Immigration, Customs, Ground Transportation (Taxi Drivers), Hotel Workers at Front Desk, Security and Lobby.
Stage 1c includes the executive arm of government and essential workers outside of the health sector including police and defence force, coast guard, fire and rescue.
Stage 1d includes older adults (60-79 years) with chronic diseases and two or more of the following comorbidities: diabetes, respiratory conditions like emphysema and asthma, renal disease, auto-immune conditions and coagulopathies.
Stage 1e is an emergency reserve of vaccines for utilization for outbreak response or mitigation.
Stage 2a includes health care workers who are at high to very high risk in nursing homes (public and private) in-home care services, and COVID-19 Laboratory Staff.
Stage 2b include older adults 60 to 70 years of age with no or one co-morbidity, in nursing homes, in home care. Dr. Laws noted that older adults, who are 80 years or older, would be medically evaluated for suitability of receiving the vaccine.
Stage 2c includes persons under 60 years of age with chronic diseases and the following comorbidities: diabetes, respiratory conditions like emphysema and asthma, renal disease, auto-immune conditions, and coagulopathies.
Stage 2d includes socioeconomic groups including low-income migrant settlements (St. Kitts –Newtown, Irish Town/McKnight, Market Street; Nevis –Low Street, Craddock Road, Bath Village), disadvantaged persons registered in the social security benefit systems, persons with disabilities, low-income groups, hard to reach populations, Mental Health Day Treatment Centre.
Stage 3a will be targeting all the staff and teachers in the Ministry of Education from the Early Childhood phase to the tertiary level.
Stage 3b will be targeting essential workers outside of the health system. These include police and defence force, municipal services, other civil servants, agricultural and food industry workers, ground, and sea transportation drivers.
Stage 3c will include social employment groups including prison workers and residents, manufacturing industry workers, New Horizons Detention Centre, the Children’s Home and offshore medical school dorms.
Stage 3d will be targeting health care workers who are at low risk. These include the Medical Ward Staff, Surgical Ward Staff, Cardin Home Staff, Flamboyant Nursing Home Staff, Ministry of Health Administration and Clerical Staff.
Stage 3e will focus on persons at high risk of transmitting the infection and young and middle-aged adults who may not have any chronic illness.