Vaccinations can work, even with the Delta variant. Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley made this assertion this afternoon as she held a televised conversation with the nation.
In her address, Ms. Mottley informed Barbadians that results from two now inactive clusters revealed that the Delta variant was present in those cases. She also disclosed that there were two other clusters linked to businesses, which preliminary screening from the Best-dos Santos Public Health Laboratory showed could potentially be Delta. However, the Prime Minister noted that the Ministry of Health and Wellness was awaiting confirmation from overseas regarding those two clusters.
While the lab only has the capacity to conduct preliminary screening for genomic variants at the moment, Ms. Mottley said she was informed by health authorities that the preliminary results had, so far, been “100 per cent accurate”.
She also pointed out that the majority of COVID-19 cases in Barbados were not caused by the Delta variant.
The Prime Minister told Barbadians that it was in their best interest to keep themselves and their families safe from the virus and that it would take a layered approach, which included following the protocols and getting vaccinated. She added that the pandemic was now one of the unvaccinated.
“At the end of the day, if we can set a national objective… yes, we want to contain COVID, but, above all else, we want to ensure that we minimise deaths and hospitalisations. And the way that we know to do that…is a healthy respect for the protocols; the layering of the masks with the social distancing of six feet where possible, three feet minimum, hand sanitising and then, ultimately, with the protection of the vaccine which, yes, is not 100 per cent, but which, in most instances, is overwhelmingly capable of protecting people. Then we have the reality that persons can get to the end [of the virus] without dying,” she emphasised.
Prime Minister Mottley stated that while vaccinated people had contracted the virus, the severity of it was significantly reduced. So much so, she highlighted the fact that only one vaccinated person ended up in the primary Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of the Harrison Point Isolation Facility.
“I know that person and the bottom line is, they had serious co-morbidities, which on their own would have put them in ICU. But the good news is that they were able to come out of ICU in early August.
“And that is the good news that I want as your Prime Minister to be discussing with you. That good news story of people who would have seen it and conquered it and come back. We know that the shield of protection given by the combined measures is what we want to be able to see for the majority of our people,” she shared.
She pointed out that, so far, 101,983 persons had “voted with their feet” by getting first doses of the COVID-19 vaccine, and over 89,000 were fully vaccinated after receiving second doses. Additionally, the Prime Minister noted that the response to the Pfizer and Sinopharm vaccines has been going well, and said more batches of the AstraZeneca vaccine were expected shortly.
Ms. Mottley said Government had put measures in place to contain the spread of the virus from the beginning of the pandemic and implored Barbadians to also do their part.
While she acknowledged that most people, businesses and social institutions were complying with the established protocols, she said others had become lax in these areas.
“There are some places that are no longer recording people’s names, not taking temperatures, just giving sanitiser liquid. You know that is not what we want. Let’s do the right thing because it is too easy to do, but the consequences of not doing it are too great to bear.
“I am asking businesses, all shops, all institutions… We know the drill by now; record names, in some instances they take pictures, record temperatures. If your temperature gun is broken down I can understand that, but there is no excuse for it to be broken down two days in a row,” she stated.
Turning her attention to households, the Prime Minister lamented that persons who were not following the protocols at home was one of the biggest issues faced by health officials. She urged Barbadians who lived in “high traffic” homes to protect themselves and families by adhering to the protocols because it could be a loved one who brings the virus home.