Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic. (FP)

Barbados’ death toll from COVID-19 rose to 21 yesterday, with the passing of yet another national. A 79-year-old male is the most recent to be felled by the viral illness.

The gentleman was taken to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital on February 7, from where he was sent to Enmore. Two days later, he was transferred to the Harrison Point Isolation Facility where he survived for only two days.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness is extending condolences to the grieving relatives and friends of the deceased.

Observing that the death occurred on the very day that the Ministry of Health and Wellness rolled out its National COVID-19 Vaccination Programme, Health Minister Lt. Col. Hon Jeffrey Bostic stressed the value of the COVID-19 vaccine as part of the arsenal in fighting the disease.

He commented that while questions had been asked about the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, it had been endorsed by the World Health Organization (WHO) as well suited to persons over 65. “This is important given the fact that senior citizens constitute a large percentage of the Barbadian population.”

Some 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine, a gift from the Government of India, are to be used in the island’s vaccination programme.

Minister Bostic further commented that the WHO had also indicated this vaccine was proven to have a high level of efficacy. The vaccine was recommended by WHO for use “even in countries that have circulation of the (South African) variant.”

The Minister pointed out that the WHO recommendations also addressed the fact that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine does not require deep subzero temperatures for storage like some of the other vaccines on the market. This makes the vaccine appropriate for use in tropical and developing countries with limited storage capacity.

The Minister said, “while being vaccinated is completely voluntary and a personal choice, health professionals and Ministry officials hope that every Barbadian will take this opportunity to protect themselves and their loved ones from the more virulent forms of the illness and reduce the risk of death; this is what the vaccine offers.”

COVID Communications Unit Barbados

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