ST. EUSTATIUS--The Moderna vaccine arrived in St. Eustatius Friday onboard an SXM Airways aircraft. The plane was given a water cannon salute by the fire department as it taxied in on the runway.
Government Commissioner Marnix van Rij and Deputy Commissioner Alida Francis will be among the first to receive the COVID-19 vaccination. Together with a number of key stakeholders they will receive the vaccine, as well as registered persons starting at 9:00am Monday at Earl N. Merkman sports hall.
Robert-Jan de Wilde of the office of the Dutch Representative in St. Maarten VNP, who is a liaison officer between the Netherlands and Statia was onboard the aircraft to make sure the vaccine was properly handed over to the Public Entity St. Eustatius.
Francis said that now that the vaccines have arrived on Statia, the next step in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic will be taken. “For the past year we have had quite a battle to contain this virus and now we will take it to the next level. We are quite aware that a number of persons are still waiting to see what happens. We hope that on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, when people see for themselves that everything is okay, they will join this vaccination programme so that we can further help to keep our island and especially the most vulnerable among, us safe from the COVID-19 virus. We are a small island and we do not know how long the pandemic will last but one thing we know for sure, our island remains vulnerable and we do not have the medical facilities should there be a major outbreak of the virus.”
Van Rij said that currently 420 persons have registered to take the vaccine. He expects more people will register this weekend and the coming week.
Statia received 1,600 doses of the Moderna vaccine, which is enough for 800 people, as two doses are required for the vaccine to be effective.
“To those who are hesitating, make your decision as soon as possible,” Van Rij said, as there are still only 380 shots available. He encouraged persons who are hesitating to read up on research and to contact their house doctor. He cautioned not to listen too much to social media as this is not always the most reliable source of information. He encouraged persons to turn to a medical specialist if they have worries, concerns or questions.