12 take first dose as Nevis rolls out Pfizer vaccines
Twelve persons have received a first dose as the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) rolled out the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine on Nevis on Wednesday, September 01, 2021.
The doses were administered to the 12 adults at the Charlestown Health Centre.
Dr. Judy Nisbett, Medical Officer of Health and Chair of the Nevis COVID-19 Task Force, welcomed the individuals and thanked them for making the decision to get vaccinated against the virus.
She pointed out that now teenagers can be vaccinated as well, the target population necessary to achieve herd immunity against the SARS-CoV-2 virus on Nevis has increased.
“We are pleased to be able to offer to the people of Nevis another option, which is the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine. We are particularly pleased because now we can offer this vaccine to children between the ages of 12 and 17. So it means then that our target population has expanded and we have additional persons that we can vaccinate. So no longer will children be dependent on their parents to protect them because the parents are vaccinated, the children can now protect themselves with the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine.
“We want to encourage other persons to come out and receive this vaccine if you have not yet been vaccinated so that we can reach our herd immunity here in Nevis and prevent transmission, prevent also severe illness, prevent hospitalization, and prevent death,” she said.
The Medical Officer of Health informed that with the Pfizer vaccine a second dose can be administered 21 to 28 days after the first dose. As with all COVID-19 vaccines, persons are considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose.
US clinical trials found that Pfizer vaccines were 94 – 95 percent effective at preventing symptomatic COVID-19 two weeks after the second dose.
Dr. Nisbett encouraged persons to call their nearest health centre to make an appointment to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
Hon. Hazel Brandy-Williams, Junior Minister of Health in the NIA, attended Wednesday’s soft launch of the Pfizer vaccine rollout. She explained that Nevis would receive the vaccines from the federal government in small batches, as required, instead of having to store a large amount on the island. She said the vaccines would be made available at each health centre in a phased approach, starting with the Charlestown Health Centre this week.
She too appealed to persons to get vaccinated so the island and the country could return to some normalcy with the easing of protocols and restrictions. She also encouraged parents to make appointments to have high school students vaccinated as soon as possible with the imminent opening of schools for the academic year 2021/2022.
Since the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccination drive on Nevis on February 24, 2021, using the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, 5,242 persons have received second doses as at August 31, 2021.
St. Kitts and Nevis is presently experiencing an outbreak of the COVID-19. As at September 01, 2021, there were 499 active cases confirmed in the Federation; 141 of those are on Nevis.