The Dutch government is willing to supply personnel to help vaccinate the Dutch Caribbean population if this assistance is needed and requested. In total, the Netherlands is making 321,000 COVID-19 vaccines available for the Dutch Caribbean population age 18 and up.
In response to written questions submitted by Member of the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament Antje Diertens of the Democratic Party D66, State Secretary of Public Health, Welfare and Sport Paul Blokhuis stated on Monday that the islands can request additional personnel to assist with the vaccination against COVID-19.
Blokhuis explained that the islands have drafted execution plans that include personnel planning. These plans are currently being assessed by the Netherlands Institute for Public Health and the Environment RIVM. If additional personnel are needed, the islands can submit a request to receive such.
Asked by Diertens how many vaccines would be made available to the six islands, Blokhuis said sufficient vaccines are purchased to vaccinate everyone. He referred to an overview by the Ministry of Public Health, Welfare and Sport VWS as to the specific numbers that would be made available.
According to this overview, 7,000 BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines are available to vaccinate the health care workers in Aruba, Curacao, St. Maarten, Bonaire, St. Eustatius and Saba in the first quarter of 2021. For the residents of St. Eustatius and Saba, 4,000 Moderna vaccines have been reserved, to be administered in the first quarter of 2021.
For persons age 60 and up in Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, 75,000 BioNTech/Pfizer vaccines are available. This group will be inoculated in the first and second quarter of this year.
A total of 235,000 Astra Zeneca, Cure Vac, Janssen or Sanofi vaccines will be available for people ages 18-60 residing in Bonaire, Aruba, Curacao and St. Maarten, to be administered in the second and third quarter of 2021. The actual execution and exact timeline of the vaccination will be determined by the approval and delivery of the different types of vaccines, clarified Blokhuis.
The islands have been working since October 2020, in consultation with Dutch authorities, on preparing the supply and administering of the various vaccines in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom. Both the countries and the public entities have drafted execution plans that take the different scenarios into account and include aspects such as logistics, infrastructure and personnel.
So-called cold-chain equipment has been purchased to store the different types of vaccines at minus 80 degrees Celsius, minus 20 degrees Celsius and 2-8 degrees Celsius. The equipment is currently being delivered on the islands, or has already arrived.
The vaccination of health care personnel on all islands is slated to take place mid-February. All vaccination target groups in St. Eustatius and Saba will also be vaccinated starting mid-February. This will take place if the RIVM, which is currently in the process of visiting all islands, has positively assessed the execution plans and storage locations.
The advice of the Netherlands Health Council to start the vaccination of persons older than 60 will be executed. The vaccination of this group in Bonaire, Aruba, Curaçao and St. Maarten will also start mid-February.
Member of Parliament (MP) Diertens enquired about the vaccination of undocumented persons on the several islands. According to Blokhuis, the islands are “very aware of the importance” of also vaccinating undocumented persons, and have included the issue of vaccinating this group in the execution plans.
The Daily Herald.