SABA (THE BOTTOM) - Today, Friday, February 19, Saba will receive 1,500 Moderna vaccines from the Netherlands. The batch will arrive per Medivac helicopter from St. Maarten. Saba requested a 100 more than the initial amount of 1,400, as many people have pre-registered and the extra vaccines are needed to ensure that the entire adult population can be vaccinated.
Saba Health Care and Public Health Saba are fully prepared and ready for the vaccination program which will last seven days, from Monday, February 22 to Monday, March 1. Health care authorities are contacting preregistered persons with an appointment date and time. Vaccination starts on Monday morning with health care workers, 60 plus persons and people between the age of 18 and 60 with a medical condition from The Bottom and St. John’s.
The vaccination takes place at the Eugenius Johnson Center on all days, except Wednesday, February 24 when some health care workers, residents of the old age home and clients of the Life Center will be vaccinated at the hospital.
On Tuesday, February 23, preregistered residents from Windwardside and Hell’s Gate age 60 and over and persons between the age of 18 and 60 with a medical condition. Falling in the medical conditions category are: persons with a chronic heart, lung and kidney disease, persons with diabetes and persons with a decreased immune system.
On Thursday, February 25, preregistered residents from The Bottom and St. John’s between the age of 40 and 60 will be vaccinated in the morning hours, followed by residents from Windwardside and Hell’s Gate in the same age group in the afternoon.
On Friday morning, preregistered residents of The Bottom and St. John’s between the age 18 and 39 will be vaccinated and in the afternoon persons of the same age group from Windwardside and Hell’s Gate. On Saturday morning, February 27 and on Monday morning, March 1, persons who did not register beforehand are invited to vaccinate. These days are also open for people who registered but who were unable to make it at their allotted time and day.
There will be two vaccination stations at the Eugenius Johnson Center, with two nurses at each station. If needed, a third, flexible station can be added. A medical doctor will always be present at the vaccination location. Persons have to stay another 15 minutes in the observation area after the vaccination as a safety precaution in very rare cases of an allergic reaction. A video with information about the vaccination route and guidelines will shortly be released.
Saba’s request for an additional 100 vaccines based on the success of registration has been honored. The 1,500 vaccines that arrive on Friday will be sufficient to inoculate the entire adult population. Up to the last day of preregistration on Wednesday, February 17, some 1,200 persons had signed up for the vaccination, which is a high number, especially when compared to other islands. The second round of vaccination will take place late March.
Medical personnel who will be administering the vaccines has received the necessary training in the past week. The last training, a so-called dry run, took place on Thursday, February 18. Vaccination coordinator Tedisha Gordon of the Public Health Department said that the preparations have been going really well and that the community response has been very good. The Planning Team has been working hard to get everything ready and to make sure that the vaccination process goes smooth. The team has not been able to reach all registered people to give them their appointments; people who are registered but did not receive an appointment are encouraged to come on the day as elaborated above.
The vaccines will be brought from the Netherlands to St. Maarten by the Royal Dutch Airlines KLM, after which they will be loaded onto the medivac helicopter for Saba and St. Eustatius. At hand to witness the arrival of the vaccines will be Island Governor Jonathan Johnson, Commissioner Bruce Zagers and public health doctor Koen Hulshof.