Saba’s Public Health Department and Saba Health Care Foundation (SHCF) will be organizing two town hall meetings this week regarding the COVID-19 vaccine. During these meetings medical experts will be available to answer questions, address concerns, and provide information about the vaccinations, which are slated to begin in Saba by mid-February.
The town hall meetings will be held at Juliana Sports Field in The Bottom at 6:30 pm Wednesday, January 20, and at Eugenius Johnson Center in Windwardside at 6:30 pm Thursday, January 21.
“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,” Saba’s island Governor Jonathan Johnson said in a COVID-19 update on Thursday, January 15.
He said that after living for almost a year in a sort of confined state, the option of more freedom has become available through the COVID-19 vaccines. These vaccines were made in record-breaking time, which will cause some concern, but presently more than 32.4 million people worldwide have taken the vaccine and are doing well, Johnson stated. He said Saba expects to receive enough vaccine for its entire adult population between February and April, but asserted that vaccination is “by no means” mandatory. “Persons can refuse to take the vaccination,” Johnson said some people wish to wait and see what happens before they decide to take the vaccine, but said it is not clear whether Saba will receive additional vaccines, as 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,” he said. “Some of the biggest risks that we foresee without vaccination is falling 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.”
The Outbreak Management Team (OMT) has already started discussions and is looking at scenarios about life after the vaccine and 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,” Johnson said.
The Public Health Department and SHCF have a COVID-19 vaccine hotline for questions regarding the vaccine. The telephone number is 416-5373.
The Daily Herald