The local hospitality sector was informed today, Friday, February 12, that the COVID-19 vaccination process will start on Monday, February 22.
In the course of next week, Saba should receive the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines of the Moderna brand. There will be two large vaccination rounds. The first during the week of February 22 to March 1 and the second during the week of March 22 – 29, the hospitality sector was informed in a letter signed by Island Governor Jonathan Johnson.
At the end of April, there will be a small catch-up moment for people who were not able to get both shots during the main two vaccination rounds, for example, because they were off-island for medical reasons or because of pregnancy.
The target for the next phase of re-opening is still May 1, 2021. Saba’s strategy for reopening is dependent on the number of persons that take the vaccine. So far, 1,140 persons have registered. The focus of the reopening strategy will be based on the percentage of the adults at risk/vulnerable persons who have taken the vaccine. This is because any measures that are taken or removed will have the biggest medical impact on this group.
“While the number of registrants indicates that we are on the right track towards vaccinating the large majority of adult Sabans, we will not have a more definite idea of what measures can be implemented for the next phase of reopening, until after the first vaccination round. We can already say that we expect that there will no quarantine required for incoming travelers who have been vaccinated. In addition to this, we foresee that testing requirements may continue for the near future, for all incoming travelers, including those vaccinated,” it was stated in the letter.
The Public Entity Saba will arrange a tourism meeting after the first vaccination round to discuss the strategy and the next steps. During this meeting, the recovery marketing strategy will be presented for feedback from the sector before it is finalized.
The hospitality sector was asked to give its continued support for the vaccination by facilitating their employees to get the vaccine in their allotted time slot. The vaccination hotline + 599 416 5373 is available in case persons have questions.
On Friday, the total number of persons registered for vaccination was 1,140. The number has been steadily increasing in the past few weeks. “This is something that we can all be proud of. However, I still want to encourage the people that haven’t registered as yet to do so. It is important to register so that our medical team can have the time and information to plan properly,” said Island Governor Johnson in his audio message on Thursday evening.
So opening the island again is dependent of the percentage of people with medical risks that vaccinate. In other words: a very small minority could spoil the future of the rest.
I would like to ask my fellow islanders to take this great opportunity to get a safe and good working vaccin. In this round we will get the proven Moderna brand. This has a high percentage of protection against the covid19-virus.
People who decide to take a vaccin later this year might get another brand. We do not know yet. But as the Dutch government also bought millions of doses of the very much cheaper AstraZeneca vaccin, this might be the one that could be send. Unfortunately this has a much lower protection grade – only about 60 percent, whereas the Moderna gives 95 percent protection.
So take your chances, protect yourself and your environment!