Asot Michael updates the people of Antigua and Barbuda not only about the current belief that COVID will be around a while but the latest on the vaccinations as well.
COVID-19 has no plans of going away anytime soon, and now the Caribbean island nations of Antigua and Barbuda are once again dealing with the virus. The two countries are seeing the highest risk of transmission since they recorded their first sickness cases in March of 2020. Currently, (February 3rd, 2021) there are 63 cases of COVID-19 in the nation.
The original 39 cases of COVID in 2020 saw the infected individuals quickly quarantined, helping to stop the spread of the disease. With recent new cases, it is cause for everyone who lives and visits the islands to be in a constant state of vigilance. All citizens must continue practicing the health protocols that were put into place to help stop the virus’s spread, including social distancing measures, good hygiene, and the wearing of a face mask. Each and everyone needs to consider the other person a potential carrier of COVID to protect themselves. Face coverings and frequent sanitizing can stop the spread of COVID; especially, when someone may be a potential carrier.
On February 2nd, 2021, the Ministry of Health, Wellness announced that fifteen (15) new cases of COVID-19 had been laboratory confirmed in Antigua and Barbuda. Currently, investigations and contact tracing is in the process to ensure anyone else who may have contracted the virus are quarantined and receive treatment.
Since the first active case in the country in 2020, there have been 249 laboratory-confirmed cases of COVID-19. It is essential anyone with symptoms or suspected contact treat the situation as if they have COVID and get tested. Contact tracing and tests take time. Studies suggest a window of at least 10 days from when a person is infected or exposed to when symptoms appear. Some individuals who test positive can be asymptomatic (show no signs of illness), affecting the spread, which is why Asot Michael and other ABLP government officials request the new protocols are followed.
Asot Michael says Pfizer vaccines in Antigua and Barbuda
Because the Pfizer/BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine must be stored at -70 degrees Celsius, there was concern about whether or not the nations had the facilities to keep them. Asot Michael assures the public that government does have the facilities to store the 30,000 vaccines.
Typically, endemic viruses do not affect people as badly once vaccines have been administered. They slow down the transmission of the virus as the population builds immunity. Asot Michael cautions that this does not mean people will not get COVID-19 in the future, and there is still concern over the deaths it could cause. Vaccinations are designed to slow down the spread of disease and limit the number of deaths. Viruses can mutate, which requires a change in how vaccines work. Assurances from Pfizer indicate current known strains of COVID-19 can be controlled with their vaccine.
Proof Of Vaccination
In light of the vaccinations now making their way through the world, many nations are considering making it a requirement for people to prove that they have tested negative or been vaccinated for COVID-19 before entering their country. The United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have been considering this possibility. Not getting vaccinated could have health implications and cause social and economic consequences. Asot Michael is working with other government officials to determine what the next steps are to keep Antigua and Barbuda safe. Asot Michael believes educating the public is important for safety.
More than 30,000 people participated in Pfizer’s BioNTech vaccine trials. The vaccine has been approved for immediate use in the United States, the United Kingdom, and other countries.
In the United States, people getting the vaccination receive two shots. The first is to protect against COVID-19. The second a month later is called a “booster” meant to help the first vaccine safeguard individuals. There are a few health conditions listed that may prevent all people from getting the vaccination; however, keeping appraised of new information about the vaccines will help Asot Michael and the residents of Antigua and Barbuda understand the safety found from receiving the vaccine.
Asot Michael’s Covid-19 message for 2021 advocates unity of purpose in the fight against this deadly pandemic:
“Our struggles with the social impact and economic difficulties of Covid-19 remind us that we are all equal… never mind culture, religion, politics or occupation. We are all connected by our health as our real wealth; as one people and one nation; as one world, one global family.”
“As we take our fight against this deadly virus into 2021, let us strengthen our discipline for cleanliness as next to Godliness…. Wash our hands, practice good respiratory hygiene, wear our masks, keep our minds and bodies and surroundings clean and free from impurities… and keep our distance.”
“I thank all those sacrificing on the frontline of the fight against this pandemic – the doctors, the nurses, the health care administrators, the environmental health care workers, the police, the caregivers, the volunteers – all of those who have carried out their responsibilities professionally, lovingly and well to keep our country safe… I thank the countries and international organizations that have been providing assistance… “
“Our battle with Covid-19 brought us face to face with the extent to which materialism has encouraged a lack of appreciation for the value of healthy food, clean water, comfortable clothes, and proper shelter. And so, let us rethink our priorities… Let us rebuild and renew home and family… let us no longer neglect these foundation pillars for successful lives in love, health, wellness, and happiness.”