The Ministry of Health launched its COVID-19 National Vaccination Deployment Programme on Wednesday at the Victoria Park.
This followed on the arrival of 40,000 doses of the Covishield AstraZeneca vaccine on March 1 as a gift from the Government of India.
Speaking on the issue on February 28 on radio, Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves said that the arrival of the quantity of vaccines meant that the Health Ministry was in a good position to unveil a national vaccination drive, which included the availability of the AstraZeneca vaccine at health centres throughout the country.
The national vaccination roll out is expected to include target groups, example the police, teachers and government departments, the prime minister said.
Gonsalves said then that he had spoken to the Chief Medical Officer, Dr Simone Keizer-Beache who had indicated that health officials met to plan for the national vaccination roll out.
The arrival of the 40,000 doses adds to the 5,000 doses this country received from Dominica in February with Gonsalves saying that the country is expected to receive another 45,600 doses under the COVAX arrangement by the end of May.
Minus the 5,000 doses that this country has agreed to give to Grenada to aid that country’s vaccination programme, Gonsalves said that the country may need an additional 50,000 doses in order to ensure that the required number of persons are vaccinated, in order to achieve population immunity- which is about 70 percent of the population or higher.
Nevertheless, Gonsalves said that it was quite an achievement for the country to have received the number of vaccines at this stage as it did.
“So, we hope we do not have the vaccines and people refuse to take it,” Gonsalves said.
The decision to get vaccinated was a personal one, however Gonsalves said that it was unbelievable that some people opted to listen to those not trained in the health profession and refuse to get the vaccine.
However, the prime minister said that the sooner and the greater the number of those taking the vaccine, then the quicker the country would be able to return to normal.
He added that there was also some talk internationally about making it mandatory to be vaccinated in order to facilitate entry into some countries.
Persons were being encouraged to get vaccinated and they were able to do so by visiting the nearest health clinic to them or they can be vaccinated up until today March 5 at the Victoria Park.