Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr. Simone Keizer-Beache has highlighted that there is no evidence of any Covid-19 variants in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
The CMO made the remark as she called in on WE FM’s Issue at hand programme on Sunday July 18th, to address certain concerns related to COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy. Addressing the issue of the presence of COVID-19 variants in SVG the CMO said “No, because we are constantly sending [samples] to CARPHA and, as you know, we test here”. The latest reports have shown that “we still don’t have any variants of concern.”
When asked about the number of persons immunised nationally, the CMO disclosed that over 25 000 doses have been given and that “we are somewhere between 8 000 and 10 000 fully vaccinated persons. We are constantly cleaning the data to ensure that we have no duplication of names and so on.”She said that the new figures will be placed on the national and regional dashboards soonest.
Regarding adverse reactions, Dr. Keizer-Beache reported zero episodes of clots associated with the vaccine. “We haven’t had any deaths associated with the vaccine, as in direct cause of death”, she added. Keizer-Beache referenced a social media post that cited 4 deaths after persons were vaccinated. “Upon investigation, the Ministry of Health can now say that those claims were false and that this country still stands at 12 COVID-19 deaths”, according to the CMO.
The CMO also addressed the hesitancy among staff in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment to take the vaccine. Accordingly, “we are engaging them – doing more sessions with them to try and address their concerns in terms of the hesitancy… we are not seeing the numbers that we would expect to have… in the emergency room,where we only have about two of 10 doctors being vaccinated – that is not safe for anybody.”
Hesitancy is high among health care workers across the region, the CMO noted. Hence, there is an aggressive move within CARICOM/OECS to “see what is the driver there and address it.” Dr. Keizer-Beache disclosed that they are looking at small groups where they can have one on one interaction with the said health care workers “to try and address some of these complaints”. The CMO did say that some members of staff have expressed interest in taking the Sputnik V.