Sheer survival

Sheer survival

It’s confirmed. The Dutch Caribbean too will be getting so-called booster injections of anti-coronavirus vaccine (see related story), just like in the Netherlands.

The initial effort regards seniors 60 and older, residents of care institutions and medical workers in direct contact with patients, but there are plans to add other groups later. In Saba and St. Eustatius every inhabitant 18 and over will be able to get the extra shot right away for logistical reasons.

To be sure, it is not mandatory, but nevertheless recommended. Even fully-vaccinated persons can be infected especially if vulnerable due to age, medical condition, living circumstances or profession, so this booster dose is intended to strengthen their defence against COVID-19.

The now prevalent Delta variant of the virus has proven to be highly contagious and difficult to stop from spreading. As herd immunity no longer seems possible particularly for an island shared by two countries with an open mutual border and one-pillar tourism economy, continuing to offer protection first to high-risk parts of the population and then to all adults makes sense.

Make no mistake, another major spike of COVID-19 in St. Maarten could be disastrous with the dominant hospitality industry finally showing significant recovery after 18 months of crisis caused by the pandemic, while related income support with Dutch financing for businesses and their employees, individual operators and people left jobless has ended.

This is not just a public health issue, but about sheer survival.