BROOKLYN, NY – Health Minister Nickolas Steele said a new shipment of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from India is due to arrive in St. Lucia on Friday, via a chartered flight, to be immediately distributed to member nations of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
He said this would allow the immunization program in Grenada, which was rolled out on February 12, to continue.
More than 2,700 adults have already received the first dose of the vaccine from the 6,000 doses the island received from Dominica, which shared its batch of vaccines gifted by the Government of India.
“We are continuing our vaccination for the population. We are not stopping because we want citizens to become vaccinated,” said Steele, who confirmed that the fresh batch of vaccines is from the gift arranged between the Government of India and the OECS Commission.
Prime Minister of St Kitts and Nevis Dr. Timothy Harris recently told journalists that a plane was chartered by the OECS Commission to have the vaccine arrive in St. Lucia safely and in a timely fashion. The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank is meeting the US$250,000 cost of the charter.
The distribution to OECS member states will be conducted by a Regional Security System aircraft.
Minister Steele was unable to say how many doses of the vaccine Grenada would receive from Friday’s shipment.
Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell said earlier that health officials’ goal is for 60 percent of the population to be inoculated by July.
“When that is achieved, we can basically go back to business as usual, with a certain level of masking for a little while, but we will be able to do a lot of things that we are not able to do at this particular time,” he said.
Grenada has not recorded a new COVID-19 case since January 21, but there are currently 168 patients in quarantine.
All visitors to the island must be quarantined for a minimum of seven days upon arrival to the country. They are also expected to arrive with a negative COVID-19 test. They will only be cleared to mix and mingle with citizens after receiving another negative test done on the fifth day of quarantine.