NewsExpiring Vaccines On Offer as ‘Booster Jabs’

St. Lucia News OnlineJuly 4, 202219485 min

Castries, Saint Lucia, Saturday November 6, 2021:– Like everywhere else where vaccines are nearing expiry dates, Saint Lucia’s Health Ministry is offering “Booster Jabs” to persons already doubly-vaccinated.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness says that with shelf-life of current stocks about to expire, the Pfizer vaccine is being offered as a “booster” in a Mix-and-Match approach that will allow for vaccinated persons with two Oxford-AstraZeneca shots to “boost” their vaccinations with a third Pfizer shot.

According to the ministry, the Pfizer “booster” can be applied “six-to-eight months after the second dose.”

The “booster shot” became available to Saint Lucians as of October 25, as the available stocks are due to expire later this month.

For over a year after the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, only Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines were available in Saint Lucia, until August 2021, when the US provided the first shipment of Pfizer vaccines as part of the Biden Administration’s Vaccine Diplomacy drive in Latin America and the Caribbean.

U President Joe Biden earlier this year announced the US will be making 5.5 million Pfizer vaccines to 25 Caribbean states and territories, with similar deliveries to several other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member-states in September and October.

The offer of free Mix-and-Match jabs as boosters follows the pattern in Europe and North America, where extra vaccines from over-stocked stockpiles are being offered as booster jabs, while governments of the richest nations hold-back on promises to donate two billion doses to developing countries.

In the Saint Lucia case, however, Ministry officials explain that there’s no choice.

According to one health officer knowledgeable of and associated with the vaccine distribution process here, “Because less people are vaccinating now, more vaccines are being left on the shelves; and instead of just letting them expire and dump them, we’ve had to find ways to use them; and the Booster Jab is a perfect way…”

She added, “Our choice was to either let the vaccines expire and dump them; or, at least try to encourage people who have been vaccinated to take a third shot.”

She concluded, “It’s like an insurance policy, if you want to call it that… 

“But the bottom line is that we are making them available before they expire and also making a third shot available, just in case…”

Meanwhile, the vaccination rate continues to increase here, now reported to be at 23% — but a full 47% away from the magical 70% necessary for the required Herd Immunity level being pursued by the island’s health authorities.

St. Lucia News Online

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