CMO urges residents to get jabbed since several  COVID-19 protocols likely to be removed and virus is ‘still there’

Dr. Rhonda Sealy-Thomas, Chief Medical Officer, says she is disappointed by the recent slow rate of vaccination.

At one point, and on a daily basis, the Ministry of Health was seeing well over 100 persons flocking to the Multi-Purpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre. But since the mandate was lifted, the influx of people who were seeking vaccination in order to keep their jobs or attend school has decreased greatly.

At present, Dr. Sealy-Thomas says, the numbers have drastically dropped – in some cases with fewer than 10 people showing up daily to be vaccinated.

However, the CMO is actively encouraging residents to get vaccinated, especially since some of the COVID-19 protocols are likely to be eased and the virus, in fact, is still around.

Meanwhile, Dr. Sealy-Thomas says the vaccination programme, in and of itself, is a good one.  And in spite of the slow vaccination rate at this time, Antigua and Barbuda is the only Eastern Caribbean country that will soon have 70 percent of its population inoculated, she says.

The CMO notes that this country has been fortunate to have five vaccines in its arsenal, and these have been administered since February 2021 at five vaccination sites and from a mobile unit.

She reports that several priority groups have been vaccinated, including the elderly, those with chronic diseases, those in healthcare institutions, and persons in prison.

According to the CMO, many more restrictions are likely to be removed once the country is able to reach that target.