Dominica prepares for rollout of COVID-19 vaccines
NEWS | 09.02.2020
The arrival of 170 000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine signals the fightback by the Caribbean against the virus that has threatened the livelihood of all CARICOM citizens.
This was the assessment of Prime Minister of Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, who joined his Barbadian counterpart, Mia Mottley, for a media briefing via Zoom on Tuesday night after the two countries received vaccines from the Government of India.
Barbados procured 100 000 doses and the remainder went to Dominica, which has a population of 72 000. Skerrit said some would be shared with other nations in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, as soon as Thursday, for their frontline workers.
Extending “profound gratitude” to Indian’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Skerrit said he did not expect a country as small as his would have received so swift a response when the Caribbean nations approached India for vaccines.
He said the doses would be stored and Dominica would roll out its public awareness campaign on Wednesday, starting with the registration of people who are interested in receiving the jab. The first vaccines – for frontline workers, the elderly at risk and members of Cabinet and Parliament will be distributed on February 22, 2021.
“I have been assured by the Ministry of Health that all systems have been put in place to ensure that recipients of the vaccine will be diligently monitored throughout the vaccination process,” the Prime Minister said.
It will not be mandatory, but Skerrit urged Dominicans “to consider the danger of passing up such an opportunity as this to safeguard the health of yourself and loved ones”. He said based on research, the effects of the vaccine kicked in after three weeks and was effective for three months until the second dose. This would go a long way in reducing transmission, and negating the effects of the emerging variants, he added. (SAT)