As more Barbadians continue to get vaccinated against COVID-19, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes the daily vaccination rate has to increase to close to 1,500.
Ms. Mottley expressed the view last evening during a COVID-19 update to the country. “We have been proceeding reasonably well. Of course, we have set a target of 10,000 a week. We haven’t met it the first two weeks, but I also have noticed a difference. In the last three days of the last week, we saw a significant increase in the numbers per day, to the point where on Friday, we were just under 1,100 persons who had been vaccinated.
“The reality is that we need to hit as close to 1,500 people a day. We also are aware that our duty is to ensure that we can keep the vaccination supply going. That is not easy, …out there is a very, very difficult environment.”
The Prime Minister noted that almost six in 10 Barbadians who could take the vaccine were doing so. However, she stressed that the country needed to “push a little harder” and get to at least 70 to 75 per cent of those eligible.
She continued: “This is a battle that is not now Government’s alone, but it is the entire country’s, and just as the medical profession has joined us, …as we go forward with these increased numbers, I also ask every Barbadian who is not yet vaccinated to please go and speak to your doctor; ask for the advice, and let us move and carry those numbers up to a level.
“We don’t expect all, but we need more if we’re going to close the gap and to begin to turn the corner, which we can so possibly do. But it requires your help…as we go forward…. I really do hope that people will redouble their efforts…. Once you can take the vaccine, go and take it, because that will help us get to that point.”
Ms. Mottley said she was having conversations with the vaccine team about better coordination and decentralisation as the programme moves forward.
She noted that every day, between a quarter and a fifth of the COVID positive cases were now under the age of 18. She expressed concern that some people were falling ill and not coming forward to get medical assistance until late.
“If persons can come forward early, we can help them more often than not. But it is when you present late, …at the point where you’re gasping for breath or where you are already having symptoms and you haven’t done anything about it, that is when the problems come,” she lamented.
The Prime Minister acknowledged that a vaccinated person might have a breakthrough and become COVID-19 positive. However, she continued: “We’ve seen all but one death attributed now in recent times to those who are unvaccinated, certainly in this last surge. The bottom line is that…once a person comes into the house with Delta, chances are, most people in that household will get it, particularly if they’re unvaccinated. If they’re vaccinated, they have a chance at fighting it off.”
Ms. Mottley disclosed that Government was working to ensure it could supplement the medical personnel working at the isolation facilities, as well as the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and polyclinics, if needed.
She further disclosed that she would meet with the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners to continue the discussions.
She noted that the home isolation and home quarantine programme, which has been introduced, will be for low risk persons, and urged Barbadians to be patient as the new programme is rolled out.