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No COVID-19 variants in SVG – CMO

No COVID-19 variants in SVG – CMO
Dr Simone Keizer, Chief Medical Officer

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There is no evidence of a COVID19 variant in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG).

This was noted by Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Simone Keizer-Beache on WE FM’s “Issue at Hand” programme on Sunday July 18, as she called in to address certain concerns related to COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy, the Agency for Public Information states in release.

Responding to a query if there is the presence of COVID-19 variants in SVG the CMO said “No, because we are constantly sending [samples] to CARPHA and, as you know, we test here”.

The latest reports have shown that “we still don’t have any variants of concern.”

When asked about the number of persons immunised nationally, the CMO disclosed that more than 25 000 doses have been given and that “we are somewhere between 8 000 and 10 000 fully vaccinated persons. We are constantly cleaning the data to ensure that we have no duplication of names and so on.”

She added that the new figures will soon be placed on the national and regional dashboards.

The CMO also reported zero episodes of clots associated with the vaccine.

“We haven’t had any deaths associated with the vaccine, as in direct cause of death”.

Keizer-Beache referenced a social media post that cited four deaths after persons were vaccinated.

“Upon investigation, the Ministry of Health can now say that those claims were false and that this country still stands at 12 COVID-19 deaths”.

The CMO also addressed the hesitancy among staff within the Ministry of Health, Wellness and the Environment to take the vaccine, noting “we are engaging them – doing more sessions with them to try and address their concerns in terms of the hesitancy… we are not seeing the numbers that we would expect to have… in the emergency room, where we only have about two of 10 doctors being vaccinated – that is not safe for anybody.”

Hesitancy is high among health care workers across the region, the CMO noted, hence, there is an aggressive move within CARICOM/OECS to “see what is the driver there and address it.”

Dr. Keizer-Beache disclosed that they are looking at small groups where they can have one on one interaction with the said health care workers “to try and address some of these complaints”. She said that some members of staff have expressed interest in taking the Sputnik V vaccine. A consignment of 50,000 doses of the Russian vaccine was received here just over a week ago.

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