All travelers, both residents and tourists, who are fully vaccinated with vaccines approved by the National Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM and the World Health Organization (WHO), will no longer require a COVID-19 test to enter St. Maarten as of November 1.
Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA Omar Ottley announced this during the live Council of Ministers press briefing on Wednesday. He said this is something the ministry has been monitoring for some time and with proven research has decided to proceed in this direction.
“Research has shown that the viral load of a fully-vaccinated person who is infected with COVID-19 lowers much faster than [that of — Ed.] a person that is unvaccinated. This means that while there are a few breakthrough cases of fully vaccinated persons, the chances of these persons spreading the virus or becoming severely ill are tremendously low,” said Ottley.
A science brief on COVID-19 vaccines and vaccination can be viewed via https://www.cdc.gov/ coronavirus/2019-ncov/sci-ence/science-briefs/fully-vaccinated-people.html.
Ottley said the vaccine allows your body to fight the virus once the infection moves from the nasal cavity into the bloodstream. Severe illness is prevented by being vaccinated, as your body will be better prepared to fight the virus.
In St. Maarten, there is a recorded 1.6 percent death rate, of which 0.04 percent were fully vaccinated. A similar percentage is recorded for the number of fully vaccinated hospitalisations. “This shows that the vaccine is highly effective and we can move towards allowing fully vaccinated persons to enter without requiring a test,” said Ottley.
He announced that his short-term plan is to also develop the COVID-19 recovery Digital COVID-19 Certificate (DCC), which allows persons to register their past infections and show proof of natural immunity.
“Please note that the requirements for unvaccinated persons remain the same. For further details visit the government website,” he advised.
The WHO-approved vaccines are Moderna, Pfizer/ BioNTech (United States Food and Drug Administration-approved), Janssen (Johnson and Johnson), Oxford/AstraZeneca, Sinopharm (Beijing) BBIBP, Sinovac and CoronaVac.
The Daily Herald