A member of the community can be seen receiving his COVID-19 vaccine. (CPS photo)
PHILIPSBURG–The first location for community-based COVID-19 vaccination opened its doors at Collective Prevention Services (CPS) in the Vineyard Building on Monday, March 1.
The Vaccination Management Team (VMT) gave The Daily Herald a tour of the new vaccination site Monday morning.
The location features a registration area, a dilution room (where the vaccines will be prepared), two vaccination rooms and one observation room.
A total of 65 persons were registered to be inoculated at the new site on Monday. The VMT said this was only a starting number. The goal is to start with a manageable number until the team has gotten “a feel” of the new location. Plans are to increase the numbers as time passes.
A similar approach was taken at the first two locations: White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) and St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC).
Persons arriving at CPS were met by specially-trained members of the COVID-19 vaccination team, which includes a doctor, several nurses, other medical professionals and translators.
The team saw the arrival of the first persons at 8:00am sharp. On entering the building persons carried out proper hand sanitisation and then confirmed their registration for vaccination. Once this process was completed they were moved to one of the two vaccination rooms. After the inoculation process was complete persons were moved to the only observation room at the current location. Up to six persons could occupy the room at one time and were continuously monitored by a medical doctor on site.
The VMT said the new location at CPS will be the only site for the time being. Based on the number of persons registered for the vaccine and the number that can be accommodated daily at the three locations, there is no need at the moment to open another location. Other locations will be opened once registrations for the vaccine increase.
This newspaper inquired about the issue surrounding “snowbirds”/seasonal vacation tourists attempting to get vaccinated in St. Maarten. The VMT said this matter has their full attention. They explained that they are aware of this and are currently in discussion seeking methods that can be used to combat this problem, both during registration online and at the vaccination site.
The VMT said it hopes to deal with this problem without deterring residents, especially undocumented residents, from getting vaccinated. The team will be working diligently to finalise methods and hopes to have this issue rectified as soon as possible.
The team stressed the importance of persons registering for the vaccine, especially those persons age 60 years and older. The VMT encourages persons to register for the COVID-19 vaccine. The team reiterated the goal of vaccinating at least 70 per cent of St. Maarten’s population to achieve herd immunity.
Persons are encouraged to use the online registration link which can be found on the Government of St. Maarten website vaccination information page, or via a paper-based registration form, which can be picked up at various locations and dropped off at the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) offices, the Division of Labor Affairs, the Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, general practitioners’ offices, the Government Administration Building and at select pharmacies.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/new-covid-19-vaccination-site-opened-at-cps-monday