I know many of you have concerns regarding the covid-19 vaccine, and this evening I would like to address some of these topics and give some updates on the vaccination process so far.
Firstly, let me remind you that the number one priority from the start of this pandemic has been and remains the safety and health of Saba’s community.
When the virus spread throughout the globe and the whole world shut down, it was evident to everyone that the only way back to life as we knew it would be a vaccine. Now with almost a year passed of living in a sort of confined state, the option of more freedom has become available, namely the covid-19 vaccine.
These vaccines were made in record-breaking time, which will cause some concern, but we need to remember that we have a lot more resources than 50 or 100 years ago in these modern times. Presently over 32.4 Million people worldwide have taken the vaccine and are doing well. Suffice to say; the vaccine is safe.
As you all know, Saba expects to receive enough vaccinations for the entire adult population between February and April, but this by no means is mandatory. Persons can refuse to take the vaccination. I know some persons wish to wait and see what happens before they decide to take the vaccine; however, I must say it is not clear if saba will receive additional vaccines but what we do know is that there are long waiting lists around the world.
One thing that we must remember is that vaccines protect from diseases, but they are not cures.
Some of the biggest risks that we foresee without a vaccination are becoming very ill if you contract covid-19, making others around you sick, and possibly not traveling as some destinations may require proof of vaccination.
It is essential to realize that we are a small community, with many vulnerable people, from the elderly to persons suffering from chronic lung or heart diseases, asthma, arthritis, or obesity. We have made it this far in staying safe. Myself and the Outbreak Management Team (OMT) believes that this is the next step we should all take as a community in continuing to keep ourselves and each other safe.
In the meantime, the OMT already started discussions and is looking at scenarios on moving forward, life after the vaccine, what will happen with borders, quarantine, and testing. Until now, the strategy of Saba was containment. With a vaccine available, we will move towards the mitigation phase; instead, this means that Covid19 could come to our island.
In closing, I would like the community to know, we are aware of the concerns, and we want to address them and keep everyone informed as much as possible. In the coming weeks, there will be town hall meetings, various information sessions, and other information made available for the public. The Public Health Department and the Saba Health Care Foundation have a covid-19 vaccine hotline that you can contact at 4165373 with any questions regarding the vaccine.