GREAT BAY, Sint Maarten (DCOMM) – The Ministry of Public Health, Social Development & Labour (Ministry VSA) Collective Prevention Services (CPS) this week commenced with its trajectory of informing various communities about the COVID-19 vaccine and the National Vaccination Implementation Strategy.
The first information session took place with representatives of the Haitian Community on Tuesday evening at the Government Administration Building. The session was held under strict social distancing guidelines.
The community leaders were provided with a presentation about the COVID-19 vaccine; how the rollout will take place on Sint Maarten; and there was also a Question & Answer segment at the end of the session.
Minister of VSA Richard Panneflek was also present for the information session. The presentation was provided by the Head of CPS: Epidemiologist Eva Lista-de Weever, and assisted by Willemijn van Leeuwen also from CPS, and Dr. Raghosing. Bregje Boetekees, operational manager of the White & Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) will also attend the coming information sessions this week.
All aforementioned stakeholders are being informed about how vaccines work; how they are developed; how the COVID-19 vaccine was developed so fast; which vaccine will the Sint Maarten population receive; safety and efficacy; what side effects can be expected; who should get the vaccine and why it is so important to get vaccinated; vaccination locations, procedures and registration.
The community leaders were provided the opportunity to ask any questions that they might still have, and lastly, the important role that the community leaders play in stopping the spread of misinformation and encouraging their communities to take the vaccine was also discussed.
Several other information sessions are planned this week with Faith-based organizations, the Indian Merchants Association (IMA), Community Councils, and the Senior Citizens Association.
The Government has established a COVID-19 Taskforce which is steering the process of making the necessary logistical preparations for when the COVID-19 vaccine arrives from the Netherlands.
The Taskforce works closely with other Kingdom partner communication groups from Curacao, Aruba, the Caribbean Netherlands (Saba, Sint Eustatius & Bonaire), and the Netherlands to ensure a consistent communications effort throughout the Kingdom of the Netherlands.