Press briefing with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley featuring Minister of Health and Wellness, Lt Col. Jeffrey Bostic – September 18, 2021. (PMO)

Training for the private medical doctors who will be administering COVID-19 vaccines will begin tomorrow.

This disclosure came today from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley in an address to the nation. During the wide-ranging address, she said she was happy an increasing number of persons were coming forward to be vaccinated, but urged more Barbadians to get inoculated.

“We are trending in the right direction, but the overall rate does need still some pumping up; it is still a little bit too low,” Ms. Mottley indicated.

The Prime Minister said about 125,000 people had already taken at least one jab, and it was important for at least 50,000 people to be vaccinated over the next five weeks.

She told Barbadians: “Let us agree to simple targets.  Let us agree to aim to get as close to 10,000 persons per week being vaccinated.  We are now just under 6,500, I think, a week….

“If we can do that, and we can maintain that each week for the next five weeks, then we will have the majority of those persons fully vaccinated before the end of November, before Independence Day and Christmas, such that we may as a country, consider then the options of significant review and removal of restrictions that we have in place…. There will then be a clear and justifiable case for the Government to take to the doctors and the public health specialists, that will allow us to gradually remove the restrictions….”

In giving an example, Ms. Mottley said if in the next week, 10,000 people were vaccinated, then there would be a clear case to review the current curfew measures, and even push back the times, whether from 9 to 10, and 6 to 10 on Sundays.

She stressed, however, that with the removal of any restrictions, members of the public would still have to wear their mask, sanitise and engage in physical distancing.

The Prime Minister noted that the six people who died here this week were unvaccinated, and again proffered the view that the virus was now proving to be a pandemic of the unvaccinated.

“There is a small percentage, Dr. [Corey] Forde keeps reminding us of seven per cent, who are likely to have the breakthrough cases among the vaccinated people. But if we catch them early as well, we can ensure that none of them go the way of the others, who regrettably have gone to the great beyond,” she stated.

Ms. Mottley said she wanted to get and distribute oximeters to a number of households across the country, so persons could test the proportion of oxygenated haemoglobin in their blood, so they would present to health officials earlier for diagnosis and treatment of the virus.

She noted that the pop up vaccination sites in the community had made a “clear and visible difference” and noted that discussions were held earlier this week about increasing the number of locations.  

She disclosed that some private sector entities had asked if their premises could be used for some of the community pop ups and those discussions were ongoing.

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