SINT MAARTEN (PHILIPSBURG) - The COVID-19 vaccines from the Netherlands arrived in St. Maarten on Friday, February 19, 2021, and was received by Prime Minister Silveria Jacobs. Accompanying the Prime Minister were Acting Minister of VSA, Ludmila de Weever, Special Envoy to the Dutch Caribbean for COVID-19 Vaccine, Dr. Marc Sprenger, and head of the Representation of the Netherlands in Sint Maarten, Chris Johnson. In the first shipment, St. Maarten has received a little over 8000 vaccines to start with. The vaccines will first be offered to seniors aged 60 years and older and health care workers.
The campaign will commence today with senior citizens of the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF). The first vaccine administered will be streamed live on the Government of Sint Maarten Facebook Page. The vaccinations will continue with staff from the WYCCF and St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) along with other health care providers on the island. Both organizations have made the necessary arrangements and provided their staff with special training.
The island’s approach to implementing the vaccine campaign is prioritizing the most vulnerable groups. “The biggest challenge in rolling out the vaccine is the logistics, to get it to the most vulnerable groups first,” stated Dr. Sprenger.
St. Maarten is extremely fortunate to be amongst recipients of the vaccine. It is of course a huge deal that we’re getting this vaccine. St. Maarten will be receiving the Pfizer BionTech vaccine, Comirnaty. The first results from this specific vaccine have been promising. In Isreal 70% of residents in the category, aged 70+ have receive the vaccine and a steep drop in active cases have been observed in that group.
The vaccine is safe and will be issued to all residents on St. Maarten documented or undocumented. Vaccinations must be issued to as many individuals as possible to reach herd immunity. This is important to safeguard the health of the members of the community. More tourists can then return to the island and our economy can begin to recover.
The public is encouraged to register online for the vaccine by visiting the Government of St. Maarten’s website: www.sintmaartengov.org/coronavirus. Paper versions of the registration form will be available later this week at Collective Prevention Services, various doctors’ offices, Government Administration Building (Labor Affairs), and the Public Service Center in Simpson Bay.