by Linda Straker
- Vaccine shipment received on Wednesday part of shared gift from Indian Government
- Frontline workers expected to be vaccinated with AstraZeneca vaccine as of next week
- Grenada is scheduled to receive 45,600 Covid-19 vaccines under COVAX facility
Health Minister Nickolas Steele received the first batch of Covid-19 vaccines on Wednesday, 10 February 2021. Hundreds of frontline workers in the health and tourism sectors, as well as law enforcement personnel, are expected to be vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine as of next week.
“We had held hard and fast to our policy that we will not implement a vaccine until it is approved by WHO, or at least one of the 4 recognised authorities.” Steele confirmed that 2 of the recognised authorities have already approved the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“Our intention is to ensure, because there is an urgent need for vaccination, that we have the vaccines to coincide with WHO approval or to come immediately after those regional authorities’ approval, which is the case in this instance.” Steele is looking forward to being vaccinated. The recognised authorities are the World Health Organisation (WHO), the US Centres for Disease Control (CDC), Public Health Canada and the EU body responsible for approving the use of vaccines.
Grenada is scheduled to receive 45,600 Covid-19 vaccines under the COVAX facility and delivery is estimated to begin as of late February subject under the World Health Organisation Emergency Use Listing (EUL) Procedure. The WHO EUL is a risk-based procedure for assessing and listing unlicensed vaccines, therapeutics and in vitro diagnostics with the ultimate aim of expediting the availability of these products to people affected by a public health emergency.
The first vaccine shipment received via the RSS aircraft on Wednesday was part of a shared gift from the Indian Government which was negotiated for by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit.
Steele said that the vaccination will be rolled out in an orderly planned manner with frontline workers in health getting the first priority followed by the workers in other essential sectors, then persons with underlining health conditions as well as the elderly over 65.
“Our vaccination plan is on a number of fundamental principles, it is our desire to offer protection to persons who bare significantly additional risk and burden of Covid-19 as they try to safeguard the health and well-being of other individuals,” said Dr Shawn Charles who is the Acting Chief Medical Officer. “Given that we have not received all of the doses we would like to have from the start, we have come up with a formula or order of priority as to how this will be deployed. First, we going to vaccinate populations with an elevated risk of being infected,” he said.
Steele warned that citizens will have to continue complying with existing public health regulations because the successful fight against Covid-19 will involve a mix of vaccination and public health regulations such as wearing a mask and physical distancing.
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