THIS COUNTRY’S HEALTH minister St Clair Prince says there is too much complacency and aggressive resistance within portions of the Vincentian population when it comes to adhering to COVID19 protocols.
Prince was speaking at a press conference organised by the Ministry of Health this week, when he highlighted several areas of concern for local authorities, who continue to work assiduously to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
“Every now and again, the public drops its guard and neglects those protocols, creating the potential for an unsafe situation to develop. It is necessary to remind ourselves at all times that the virus is very dangerous and that this country, like the rest of the world, is affected,” Prince said.
To date, three cases of the Delta variant have been confirmed locally. The health minister revealed that an additional six samples have been sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), for testing.
He further described the presence of the variant as “a very worrying development” as Delta is considered to be much more transmissible and more dangerous than other variants of the COVID19 virus.
“It seems we must redouble our efforts to comply with the protocols in order to keep ourselves safe,” Prince said.
Statistics from the Ministry of Health shows an increase in positivity rates and absolute numbers locally; both are areas of concern for authorities.
Prince highlighted areas of complacency among Vincentians, noting that there has also been decreasing compliance as it relates to mask use, physical distancing and hand sanitisation.
Additionally, he said there has been an increasing and “alarming trend” of mass gatherings as people begin to get together without adhering to established public health protocols.
Prince also noted the low uptake in COVID19 vaccines.
Several persons have argued that COVID19 vaccines have only been authorised for emergency use and
are not officially approved by the relevant international bodies.
“For those waiting for approval, the Pfizer vaccine was granted full approval by the FDA of the United States and is available here in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” the health minister said. “Disinformation; that’s a major culprit. Reports of deaths due to vaccines in St Vincent and the Grenadines are incorrect. We’ve said that before. We continue to say it. People have been putting out that information; it is not true.”
The AstraZeneca, Sputnik V and Pfizer COVID19 vaccines are available locally for persons seeking to receive the jab.
Prince said the government continues to formulate policies and measures aimed at keeping the country safe and on the path to return to normalcy.
These efforts include the insistence on compliance with the existing protocols; proper hygiene, sanitisation, mask wearing and physical distancing.
The health minister took the opportunity to encourage Vincentians to take the COVID19 vaccine, which has been hailed as being able to reduce transmission of the virus and prevent severe illness, which could lead to COVID related deaths.
It is also the method that scientists believe will allow for countries to return to a level of normalcy.
Prince said local authorities continue to prepare to quickly detect and contain the spread of COVID19 in the event of increased cases.
“We however cannot do it ourselves. I ask you, my fellow Vincentians to do your part. Take the vaccine. It is in your interest. It is for your health. Your general well being depends on it. Ignore the negative noises and educate yourselves about the vaccine. Get information from reliable and scientific sources. We have to fight this together…” he said.