Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 21, 2021 (SKNIS): The ‘All of Society’ approach implemented by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis in the management of the COVID-19 pandemic has been critical in protecting both lives and livelihoods. Acting Chief Medical Officer and Medical Chief of Staff at the Joseph N. France General Hospital (JNF) Dr. Cameron Wilkinson during the October 21, 2021, NEOC press briefing urged the private sector to play a greater role in the fight against COVID-19.
“We speak about the “All of Society’ approach all the time and I want to make an appeal to the business sector because the COVID-19 vaccine rollout is our greatest chance of ending this pandemic and enabling the economy to recover. There are certain things that the business sector can do and I just want to throw out some suggestions. For example, the businesses can make masks affordable or free with your company’s logo and you can also be advertising vaccination at the same time. So, at TDC, RAMS and Horsford’s for instance instead of being turned back for not having a mask, the company can offer the mask there with their logo and promote the vaccination. Businesses can offer discounts and giveaways to persons who show their vaccination cards,” said Dr. Wilkinson.
The Medical Chief of Staff further outlined that hotels can also assist in this area by providing discounted rates to locals who are vaccinated to help increase their profits and occupancy. Dr. Wilkinson noted that the greatest economic stimulus is to get the greatest number of people vaccinated as quickly as possible.
“You can advertise your business and at the same time promote vaccination and social distancing etc. You can have subliminal messages coming over the intercom when you are playing music and you’ll be surprised how these messages work and how it would encourage persons to come forward. You can also offer incentives to your staff and I know there are some businesses that have been doing that but we need to see more of that because the greatest economic stimulus is to get the greatest number of people vaccinated as quickly as possible,” he said.
The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has provided economic stimulus packages to persons across the Federation given the adverse economic impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The government to date has provided relief under the Income Support Programme, the Fuel Subsidy Programme for passenger bus owners, and the Disability Support Programme, which provides financial assistance for households with children living with disabilities.