The Caribbean part of the Kingdom is ready to start with vaccination against COVID-19 around February 15, as planned. The National Institute of Public Health and the Environment RIVM is preparing the first transport of the vaccines.
Dutch State Secretary of Public Health, Welfare and Sport Paul Blokhuis announced this in a press release on Tuesday evening. For Saba and St. Eustatius, it concerns the first batch of the Moderna vaccine. Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten will receive the BioNTech/ Pfizer vaccine in the first phase.
Curacao Minister of Public Health Zita Jesus-Leito, Aruba Minister of Public Health Dangui Oduber, St. Maarten Minister of Public Health Richard Pannefiek and State Secretary Blokhuis confirmed during their four-country consultation this week that they want to offer all adults in the Dutch Caribbean the opportunity to get vaccinated against COVID-19.
They said the involved authorities have been working very hard, together with vaccination delegate Marc Sprenger, to be ready on the islands for the execution of the vaccination campaign and that it was very hopeful that the first batches of the vaccines can be delivered around February 15.
“For the Caribbean part of the Kingdom this means that there is an extra perspective to end the corona-virus crisis. The objective is to have the vaccination campaign concluded on all islands before the start of the hurricane season.”
On Blokhuis’ order, vaccination delegate Sprenger, a former director-general of the RIVM, assists the Dutch Caribbean islands to start the vaccination in a timely manner. The vaccination delegate, together with the RIVM, has visited all six islands to discuss the progress with all local authorities.
The necessary equipment has been delivered and the involved personnel have been trained in the so-called cold chain and vaccine management. Sprenger and the RIVM have defined a number of action points per island. When these have been complied with, the vaccination programmes will kick off.
In Bonaire, Curacao, Aruba and St. Maarten, in the first phase of the vaccination the BioNTech/Pfizer will be offered to health care workers and persons over the age of 60. To work as efficiently as possible and to limit the waste of the vaccine to a minimum, the Moderna vaccine will be offered simultaneously to all adults in St. Eustatius and Saba.
For the first phase, the vaccines will be delivered and distributed in different batches, Blokhuis concluded the press release. The cost of the vaccines, the transport and equipment for the entire Dutch Caribbean is being carried by the Dutch government.
The Daily Herald.