BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, June 09, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said his Team Unity administration is committed to ensuring the highest level of safety and protection for its citizens and residents in the use of COVID-19 vaccines, and as such it will only consent to the use of vaccines that have been granted approval for emergency use by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Theprime minister was responding to a question posed by a caller on the latest edition of Leadership Matters on Tuesday, June 08, regarding the Government’s decision to authorize the use of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine in St. Kitts and Nevis, in lieu of other vaccines.
PrimeMinister Harris responded by saying, “We have a vaccine that is used by a majority of countries around the world. The best vaccine is the one that you have, and we have one that has been tested and is widely used. When we made the judgement call, we were advised that it was best suited for our region.”
Dr. Harris stated that his Government is one that is guided by science and relies on information provided by reputable entities such as the World Health Organization that has been at the forefront in the fight against the deadly virus.
Thehonourable prime minister said he has also been made aware of instances whereby a small group of irresponsible citizens are encouraging persons to await the arrival of vaccines developed in Cuba. Those vaccines are yet to be given the green light by the WHO.
OnTuesday’s live programme, Prime Minister Harris read aloud a letter he received from the Embassy of Cuba dated June 08. That letter stated in part, “Regarding the request for information about the development of Cuban COVID-19 vaccines by the Honourable Prime Minister Timothy Harris, Cuba has five COVID-19 vaccine candidates still awaiting approval.”
“So, you should ask yourselves, why should a doctor who knows better encourage persons to look for something that, in reality, is not available to them. We have established, as a policy for the protection of people in St. Kitts and Nevis that any vaccine we use here must have the approval of the World Health Organization, which is the premier body dealing with public health,” said Prime Minister Harris.
Todate, the World Health Organization has listed seven COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use. They are the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine; two AstraZeneca/Oxford COVID-19 vaccines – one produced by AstraZeneca-SKBio (Republic of Korea) and the other by the Serum Institute of India; the vaccine developed by Janssen (Johnson & Johnson); the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine; the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine and the recently approved Sinovac COVID vaccine.