by Linda Straker
- Vaccine hesitation providing pathway for an outbreak and Covid-19 related deaths
- 14,308 individuals fully vaccinated as at 2 July 2021
Health Minister Nickolas Steele has announced that the staff at all quarantine sites in Grenada must be fully inoculated with the Covid-19 vaccine that is currently available on island as part of its strategy to ensure that there are no outbreaks on island.
Expressing his disappointment with the slow pace at which eligible citizens are willing to take the AstraZeneca vaccine that Grenada has received through the COVAX facility and as donations from India, Steele said that the hesitation is providing a pathway not just for an outbreak of infection, but Covid-19 related deaths.
“Regrettably, it is most obvious now and I would like for it to go down on the record of this House that despite all the efforts of this Government, individuals in Grenada will die from Covid-19. Covid-19 will have its day in Grenada again,” Steele said while addressing a sitting of the Lower House of Parliament on Wednesday, 7 July 2021.
Grenada confirmed its first Covid-19 case in March 2020 and to date the island has recorded 162 cases, with one death. Most of the cases are imported.
“We find that a significant number of our population who find comfort in this who choose to say things like not yet, I am not taken the vaccine, I will take it at some point, I will wait for the Cuban one, I will wait for the one you don’t have now, I will take my chances,” he said while reminding the House that Grenada is not a special nor immune for Covid-19 infections.
“We are no different from any nation in the world and we should not be thinking that we are. The only nations that will be able to move pass are the nations are the nations that able to achieve an acceptable level of vaccination nationally and that start with very single institution and establishment.” He confirmed that the decision for all quarantine facility staff to be vaccinated is in the best interest of the nation’s health.
“We have insisted that all quarantine establishments have 100% vaccination,” as he named St George’s University (SGU) and Grenada Cooperative Bank as companies that have announced policies that all employees must be vaccinated to continue employment.
Using the opportunity to call upon all parliamentarians to speak up and speak out about the international policy of vaccination, he said, “Our health and the choices we make health-wise are private, but as leaders, I do believe we have an obligation to let the public know on which side of the fence we stand.”
20,023 individuals received the first dose of the vaccine and the total number fully vaccinated is 14,308 as of 2 July 2021. Vaccines are offered freely to any citizen 18 years and over. Using the electoral list as a guide, just a little more than 80,000 citizens are entitled to be vaccinated.
Grenada began its vaccine campaign on 12 February 2021.