By Carlena Knight
“Within a month’s time — 30 days — we would be able to cover the 80 percent herd immunity we are trying to achieve,” declared Dr Jeremy Deazle, one of the key medics in Barbuda’s vaccination programme.
Dr Deazle, who was commenting on the Covid-19 vaccination rollout in the sister isle, explained that due to “the small population” and based on the current trend, that feat could be accomplished.
Herd immunity, or community immunity, occurs when the majority of the population of an area is immune to a specific disease.
It has been projected by medical professionals that if 80 percent of the population in Antigua and Barbuda is vaccinated, the country will achieve herd immunity which is a key factor in arresting the rapid spread of the coronavirus.
Frontline workers in Barbuda were the first to receive an initial dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca jab last month. Since then, teachers, people aged over 65, and many members of the general public have also been vaccinated.
Currently, the number of residents on Barbuda is estimated to be around 1,200, and thus far 150 persons have received their first dose.
One thousand doses have already been reserved for Barbuda from the latest batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine which was gifted to Antigua and Barbuda by the government of India.
In fact, Dr Deazle shared that 100 doses from that batch arrived on island on Monday.
He also admitted that persons were at first apprehensive of taking the vaccine but have since seemed to be more open, as the daily numbers of residents coming to the vaccination centre have been increasing.
“Initially, there was resistance but now persons are more open to the vaccine. They are seeing the positive effects of the vaccine.
“They’ve seen the healthcare workers and frontline workers getting their vaccine. Persons are more concerned about the side effects and all that but when they realised the side effects are basically mild, persons are becoming much more comfortable about getting the vaccines,” Dr Deazle explained.
Regarding the policing of the protocols, the doctor shared that it has been quite easy to monitor due to the small population of the island. He is however still encouraging persons to adhere to all the relevant protocols.