COVID-19 second dose to officially commence this week
This week, Antigua and Barbuda will officially commence vaccinating thousands of citizens and residents with their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine. This roll-out will see senior health officials, including the Chief Medical Officer and Cabinet members take centre stage as they receive their second jab.
By all indications, the end of June will see over twenty four thousand citizens and residents fully vaccinated from the dreadful COVID-19 disease.
According to health experts, the COVID-19 vaccine prevents serious illness, hospitalisation and death if one contracts the virus.
However, health authorities are encouraging residents to come out to receive their first dose, soonest. With continued speculation on whether the COVID-19 vaccine will become mandatory, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment has intensified its public education campaign, launched a mobile vaccination unit and engaged major stakeholders in the private sector, bar and entertainment industry, seeking to collaborate on ways to encourage the public to turn out, to be vaccinated.
Last week, doctors, nurses, and ministry officials took to the airways, imploring citizens to turn out to get their vaccine. Concurrently, the COVID-19 mobile vaccination unit continued its island-wide coverage last week. The mobile unit was seen in full swing at the Woods Center parking lot, vaccinating a total of seventy-one residents during the one-day operation. On Friday, the unit was in the Falmouth area in the vicinity of Baileys Supermarket, while on Saturday 8th May, the mobile unit set up camp at the Cedar Grove playing field. Both days, the mobile unit vaccinated approximately two hundred residents.
“These three mobile COVID-19 vaccination events allowed citizens and residents to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, particularly those with transportation issues and those who are unable to access the established vaccination centers during the 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. opening hours,” ministry officials indicated.
Minister of Health, Sir Molwyn Joseph, reiterated that it is important to bring the COVID-19 vaccination programme into the community and the familiar spaces of the people to facilitate ease of access to the vaccines.
Whereas ministry officials have engaged in public education, private entities have also joined the call in encouraging residents to take the jab. Earlier last week, Arton Capital, a global financial advisory company with bases in Dubai and Antigua, launched a “Vaccinate and Win” campaign. Similarly, Epicurean supermarket is offering shopping vouchers when residents vaccinate. On Thursday, Neverland Toy store announced a ten per cent discount storewide when a customer turns up with their fully vaccinated card.