ONLY THREE OF 13 District Medical Officers are vaccinated against COVID in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).
This is according to Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves, who recently, gave a COVID19 update as it relates to the vaccine status of healthcare workers locally. “I don’t understand how a doctor could be a District Medical Officer and just not taking the vaccine. I just don’t understand that. I want to ask the question, how can they be relied upon to give a medical certificate to say somebody must get a health exemption or medical exemption when they themselves are not taking the vaccine. And some of these young doctors, persons — come on, professionals, please take the vaccine na,” the Prime Minister said on NBC radio on Wednesday morning.
Gonsalves recounted the figures indicating that only 55 per cent of nurses in community nursing are vaccinated while just over 42 per cent working in the hospital services are vaccinated.
At the Milton Cato Memorial Hospital, 90 per cent of the doctors there are vaccinated.
“…And I’d really like to see the other 10 per cent so we can have complete vaccination down there,” he said on radio.
Health authorities have amped up efforts in recent times to vaccinate the population, as the country continues to experience a spike in positive COVID19 cases.
Gonsalves has also repeatedly encouraged workers in the healthcare sector to take the jab.
He noted that there has been an uptick in recent times, both among the public and nurses, but that it should “go up faster”.
Giving figures for various departments, the prime minister revealed that only eight of 37 staff members at the Maternity wards were vaccinated.
Of 29 nursing staff in Paediatrics, 11 are vaccinated while 18 are unvaccinated.
In the Outpatient Department, two of seven are vaccinated while 17 of 41 are vaccinated at the Operating Theatre.
In the Male Medical Ward, seven of 17 are vaccinated and at the Female Medical Ward 12 of 22 are vaccinated.
Gonsalves also noted that of the seven nurses stationed at this country’s Isolation Facility at Argyle, six are vaccinated and one remains unvaccinated.
“I don’t know how somebody could work at the Argyle Isolation Facility and not vaccinate, unless there’s — I don’t know. I just don’t know. Maybe somebody could explain that,” he said.
At the Modern Medical and Diagnostic Centre in Georgetown, 31 of 56 staff are vaccinated.
“And look, when we were opening that, people were just rushing you down to go there you know. Please take the vaccine, na. You know you should be taking it, please,” Gonsalves urged.
The Prime Minister noted that figures were slightly better at the Georgetown Hospital where 11 of 15 staff members were vaccinated.
He also said better figures were being reflected in the community services where there were health nursing supervisors —
eight of which are vaccinated.
All seven family nurse practitioners are also reported as having taken the jab.
Two of three foot health practitioners, as well as staff at the Senior Nursing Office have been vaccinated as well.
Gonsalves also gave figures for healthcare staff in each of this country’s health districts.
In the Kingstown District, 70 per cent of staff nurses, nursing assistants, community health aides, auxiliary and female attendants are vaccinated.
In both the Cedars and Georgetown Health Districts, 80 per cent of the workers have taken the jab.
About 46 per cent of workers in the Calliaqua District are vaccinated and 47 per cent in the Pembroke Health District have taken a COVID19 vaccine.
Both Marriaqua and Chateaubelair health districts have 51 per cent and 54 per cent of vaccinated workers respectively.
The Northern Grenadines has the lowest percentage of vaccinated staff — only three of 16 or 19 per cent.
About 42 per cent of workers in the Southern Grenadines are vaccinated.
“Nurses can’t tell me they don’t know the facts. Doctors can’t tell me they don’t know the facts. Surely, you should be in a different profession because the science is clear. I’m not talking about some of the nonsense which you get on social media,” Gonsalves said on the NBC’s Face to Face programme.
The prime minister said “The vaccine is not 100% foolproof, no drug is. But the real life experiences tell you that the best tool in the toolbox, apart from what they tell you, studies from the lab, the real world all around us, all over the world, that the persons who don’t take the vaccine, who are unvaccinated, they are many, many times more likely that they’re going to get the virus, they’re going to get very sick and they are many more times likely to die than if you take the vaccine.”
Cabinet will approve the Public Health (Public Bodies Special Measures) Rules of 2021 this month, which will seek to enforce requirements for this sector of workers to either be vaccinated or get tested regularly.
These rules also address exemptions from requirement for vaccination .