Yesterday, 17th August 2021, the Saint Lucia government received 52,560 Pfizer BioNTech vaccines from the United States. In a thank-you address, the Prime Minister Philip J Pierre reaffirmed his government’s commitment to significantly increase the local uptake of vaccines. He lamented that only 14% of the local population had been vaccinated, 56%-66% short of the required level to secure herd immunity.
Pierre went on to encourage the public to take the Covid vaccine for their own protection, their family, friends, work colleagues and the wider Saint Lucian community and that they should make that decision, “out of knowledge and confidence”. He reminded his audience that the Caribbean “had a long and successful history of using vaccines to protect our people from infectious diseases: measles, smallpox, yellow fever, among others”.
In a seemingly attempt to allay local fears that the vaccine may have been developed too quickly and therefore not safe, the Prime Minister explained that the Pfizer vaccine like other Covid-19 vaccines had been developed in record time, “thanks to years of previous research on similar viruses, lots of resources made available and new technological innovations”.
In closing his address, the Prime Minister thanked the US President Joe Biden for his country’s generous donation to Saint Lucia and looked forward to continuing bilateral collaboration in the area of healthcare. He also took the opportunity to thank the front line workers describing them as having “toiled tirelessly in the war against this pandemic”.