CHARLESTOWN, NEVIS, March 26, 2021 (DBSKN) — The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has a successful vaccination programme where children have been taking their vaccines dutifully, thereby protecting the adults and a senior health official is appealing to adults to take the Covid-19 vaccines to protect children who are not eligible to take it now.
“I think it is about time that we protect them because they have been protecting us by going religiously to get their vaccinations,” said Medical Officer of Health in the Ministry of Health on Nevis and Chair of the Nevis Covid-19 Task Force, Dr Judy Nisbett.
“They get their measles vaccinations, they get their mumps, they get their rubella etc. but they can’t get the Covid-19 vaccinations, at least not yet, and therefore we can protect them by us taking the vaccine and therefore eliminating community spread and therefore will not spread to them.”
Dr Nisbett made the remarks on Thursday March 25 when she conducted a Covid-19 Vaccination Information Session at the Nevis branch office of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis on Chapel Street in Charlestown for Management and Staff. Also present to give them support was Nevis-based member of the Bank’s Board of Directors, Mr Stephen Jones, who has already received his Covid-19 vaccine.
According to the health official, people in St. Kitts and Nevis are accustomed to vaccinations as the country has a vaccination programme that administers at least thirteen different types of vaccines. These include polio, diphtheria, tetanus, hepatitis B, measles, mumps, rubella, tuberculosis (TB), etc. The programme is mainly for children, but there are adults that take vaccinations also.
“Our population (in Nevis) at our last census (2011) was 12,277,” stated Dr Nisbett. “Just over 26 percent of our population are children 0-17. So that leaves just over 70 percent of the population in adults. For this vaccine we know we are not giving to persons under 18, so that takes out a chunk of the population that cannot get vaccinated and leaves us the responsible adults who can get vaccinated to get vaccinated so that we can reach herd immunity, so that we can protect the children who cannot be vaccinated.”
She added: “We do not have any wriggling room in terms of the 70 percent at all because we have taken off a chunk of our population who are children, and I am afraid that we are going to fail our children. We will fail our children by not taking the vaccine.”
She advised that St. Kitts and Nevis is rolling out the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine which is given in two doses, ten weeks apart. The dose can be given eight to twelve weeks apart, but the Ministry of Health has chosen to give it ten weeks apart. While last week at the Bank’s head office in St. Kitts a vaccination clinic took place, in Nevis the Charlestown Health Centre is just behind the Bank building and staff were advised to go to the health centre.
“It is best to call and make an appointment to see when they are giving because each vial has ten doses and we are not going to open a vial for one person,” advised Dr Nisbett. “It only lasts six hours once it is opened and that may be we have to discard and we can’t afford to discard doses. That is why we get persons to come in tens. – it is free of course.”
The interactive session, where a number of questions were posed by the staff, was moderated by Manager of the Nevis Branch of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, Ms Hyacinth Pemberton, who thanked Dr Nisbett for coming to share information on the Covid-19 vaccine rollout with the Bank staff.
“We at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis take the health of our staff and that of our clients and the country on a whole seriously,” observed Marketing and Product Development Officer, Ms Chantelle Rochester. “Since the coronavirus pandemic raised its ugly head last year, we have liaised with the National Covid-19 Task Force to ensure that the institution was fully compliant as it related to the Covid-19 Protocols.”
According to Ms Rochester, the Bank invited Chairman of the National Covid-19 Task Force, Mr Abdias Samuel, who is also National Disaster Coordinator of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), and Deputy Chair of the National Covid-19 Task Force, Dr Hazel Laws, who is also the Federation’s Chief Medical Officer (CMO), to facilitate a Covid-19 sensitisation session with management and staff of the Bank on March 3, last year.
“The Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis bolstered Covid-19 protocols by installing thermal cameras at the offices in St. Kitts and in Nevis which allowed for body temperatures of staff and clients to be taken without any human contact,” added Ms Rochester. “With the Covid-19 Vaccination Information sessions at our two offices, Management of the Bank thanks the Ministry of Health for the great efforts that have kept our Federation relatively free of the virus.”