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COVID-19 Second Dose Officially Commences with Front Line Workers

The Ministry of Health, Wellness, and the Environment is pleased to announce the official rollout of the second dose administration of the COVID-19 vaccination for the public.
Leading the charge will be the Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Rhonda Sealy-Thomas, along with Principle Nursing Officer, Sister Margaret Smith, Medical Director of the Mount St. John’s Medical Center (MSJMC), Dr. Albert Duncan, and healthcare workers at the MSJMC, in live coverage of their vaccination process on Wednesday 12th May 2021 from 10 AM.
Subsequent to administering the second dose to healthcare workers, Members of the Cabinet will receive their second dose on Thursday 13th May 2021 at the Office of the Prime Minister, Queen Elizabeth Highway. Retired parliamentarians will also receive their second dose at Parliament Building on Saturday, 15th May 2021.
Health officials are reminding members of the public that it is important to obtain the second dose to increase the efficacy of the vaccine and boost protection against COVID-19. The COVID-19 vaccine prevents serious illness, hospitalization, and death.
The general public is asked to pay attention to dates given within their vaccination card for their second dose. They are invited to return to the centers where they received their first dose. For persons who received their first dose at the Sir Novelle Richards Academy, they can receive their second dose at the Precision Center, Paynters. The other vaccination sites are located at the Multipurpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre, the Glanvilles Polyclinic, and the Villa Polyclinic.
First dose of the COVID-19 vaccine will still be administered at all vaccination centers.
A subsequent announcement will be made for the second dose schedule for uniformed bodies and targeted groups

Article taken from Point Xpress:

The second phase of the vaccine roll-out programme was launched Tuesday, with four public vaccine centers opening their doors to the general public for free COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccines. The public vaccination programme is said to be the most significant public health response in the fight against COVID-19. Since the start of the vaccination programme, approximately twenty-seven thousand and thirty-two people have received their first shot of AstraZeneca vaccine, with another five hundred and fifty-four people vaccinated on the first day of phase two.

These five hundred and fifty-four people who received their first shot on Tuesday represented individuals from all walks of life. According to vaccine site managers, “Tuesday’s exercise is reminiscent of what we experienced during the initial vaccine process last month, persons turned up slowly; however, we expect more persons in the coming days as they become aware of what’s taking place.” The site managers went on to explain that there are no priority days and no one will be turned back. “Anyone who can take the vaccine, who wants the vaccine, can come and get the vaccine,” they declared.

According to the Ministry of Health, “The public is encouraged to actively participate in phase two of the COVID-19 vaccination programme to create herd immunity, whereby the majority of the population is protected from becoming seriously ill from COVID-19. With herd immunity, it is expected that the country will return to some degree of normality, which will include the facilitation of economic, social and cultural activities and the ease of travel.”

With international pressure mounting on the necessity of the COVID-19 vaccine for social and economic normality, more and more countries are looking at ways to encourage their citizens to vaccinate. Some leisure travel and cruise lines have already hinted at mandatory vaccination for clients and destinations amidst the crushing blow from the COVID pandemic. According to Forbes news, “Most cruises require a vaccine. It appears that the cruise industry will be the first travel sector to make vaccines mandatory for all crew and guests. Each cruise line is setting its own policy. No government laws require a vaccination. These smaller American cruise lines require a vaccine once cruising resumes: American Cruise Lines, American Steamboat Co and UnCruise Adventures” Forbes news continued to state that for now, airlines do not require a vaccine card. However, “In November 2020, Qantas said they would eventually require international flyers to be fully vaccinated to board the plane.” To date, in Antigua and Barbuda there has been no national mandatory vaccine policy, although both the private and public sector have heavily laid support for it as “the way back to normality.”

Internationally, however, it has been reported that a court has laid the framework for possible mandatory polices. According to EURO News, “Delays in deliveries, production bottle necks, exports control, vaccine hesitancy and public feuds with pharmaceutical companies have muddled the first months of Europe’s vaccination campaign against COVID-19. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) ruled last week that compulsory vaccination can be considered ‘necessary in a democratic society.’ The court, which is based in Strasbourg, is the final interpreter of the European Convention on Human Rights and its jurisdiction covers all forty-seven member states of the Council of Europe.”