A member of the CPS Vaccination Team inoculating a person who had registered for their COVID-19 vaccine.
~ Seniors, persons with underlying conditions eligible ~
PHILIPSBURG--Due to the fact that an unexpected number of people did not show up for their appointment, and the number of persons sixty years and older who registered for the vaccine is growing more slowly than expected, more vials with the COVID-19 vaccine were defrosted at the start of this week than can be used for eligible seniors who have registered.
“If these vaccines do not get administered this week, they will have to be thrown away as each vial can only be kept for 120 hours after being defrosted. Given the extreme scarcity worldwide and the value of these vaccines, and the high demand for the vaccine in other priority groups on our island, spillage is to be prevented at all cost,” the Vaccination Management Team (VMT) said in a press release on Thursday.
The VMT has decided to offer these vaccines to seniors and those with underlying health conditions who, due to the organisation for which they work, are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19 due to frequent interpersonal contact.
The selected organisations are the St. Maarten Police Force, Ambulance and Fire Departments, funeral homes, Customs Office and the Inspectorate of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA.
Employees of these organisations have more than regular contact with multiple different groups and communities and are therefore at higher risk of contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus.
To prevent situations like this, Collective Prevention Service (CPS) encourages everyone to register for the vaccine, even if it is not yet their turn. “This is even more important for those who are 60-plus, because this is the first priority group that is currently being vaccinated and for which the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine is intended. If more people register, the planning of the appointments will become easier and spillage can be prevented,” said the release.
The VMT encourages everyone to provide a helping hand to those who need help in the registration and vaccination process. “If you have a friend, parent, neighbour or relative that might be struggling, please offer to help with registering, transportation, comfort, or providing information, because only together we can reach our goal,” said the release.