Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 30, 2021 (SKNIS): As the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis begins the fight against the fourth wave of the deadly COVID-19 virus, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Hazel Laws indicated during the December 30, 2021 NEOC press briefing that the Omicron COVID-19 variant is present within the Federation.
“The Omicron variant has been labelled a variant of concern (VOC) by the World Health Organization (WHO)…On December 22, 2021, the Federation sent off a small package of three (3) samples to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for genomic sequencing, two of the three samples returned positive for the Omicron variant of concern. When we look at the data pertaining to these two samples, we have objective evidence that the Omicron variant is in circulation in the Federation currently. The Lambda variant has been in circulation for the past seven months. So, we have two variants in circulation, the Omicron and the Lambda COVID-19 variants,” said CMO Dr. Laws.
A critical component in the Ministry of Health’s fight against the COVID-19 virus has been vaccination. Thus far, the Ministry of Health has been able to secure enough doses for the entire population of the Federation and has rolled out a successful vaccination campaign.
CMO Dr. Laws also spoke to how the unvaccinated and vulnerable persons in our society are more at risk of contracting the Omicron variant.
“In terms of the 2918 cases of COVID-19, based on our analysis, sixty-eight (68) percent of these cases are unvaccinated, only twenty-six (26) percent are fully vaccinated and the remainder about seven (7) percent are partially vaccinated. So, it remains a disease impacting the vulnerable and unvaccinated among us. I want to use this plug to reach out to those who are not yet vaccinated, empower yourself with the latest information and come on board and enjoy a level of protection against COVID-19 by consenting to the vaccine, said CMO Dr. Laws.
The Omicron variant was first reported in South Africa towards the end of November and beginning of December, 2021 but has spread rapidly across the world with scores of countries already confirming cases of the Omicron variant. Across the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine booster shots are readily available to help combat the spread of COVID-19 and all eligible persons are encouraged to take the booster shots.