At a press briefing of the Ministry of Health on Monday 8, February, the Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit informed the nation that 70,000 COVID-19 vaccines will be on island on Tuesday 9, February, 2021.
The vaccines which were generously donated by the Government of India will be rolled out by the Ministry of Health soon. The generous donation is expected to provide for the vaccination of 35,000 Dominicans as the vaccines is supposed to be taken in two doses.
The Ministry of Health is set to begin a robust education program to calm the fears of citizens regarding the vaccine.
According to Chief Medical Officer (Ag) Dr. Laura Esprit, the vaccine distribution will follow the guidelines set out in the COVID-19 Vaccine Introduction Readiness Assessment Tool (VIRAT) which was developed by the Wolrd Health Organization(WHO).
She said that a COVID-19 National Task Force has been set up as well as an Immunization Technical Committee and a Technical Working Group to oversee vaccine distribution which will occur at the Primary Health Care Centers at various districts and at different times.
Dr. Esprit explained that the Ministry hopes to vaccinate between 300-400 persons a day. The estimated number includes about 1000 frontline healthcare workers inclusive of Environmental Health Officers, Pharmacists and the like; 600 other frontline workers to include customs and immigration officers; 7500 persons with chronic diseases, 8900 persons over the age of 65 years and 100 government officials to include ambassadors.
National Epidemiologist Dr. Shaluddin Ahmed added that persons who receive the vaccine will be monitored extensively.
According to the Prime Minister, while the vaccine is not mandatory it is expected that persons will voluntarily receive the vaccine so as to achieve herd immunity. He said that the Government of China has promised another 20,000 vaccines.