At the vaccination press conference were (from top left) President Daniel Gibbs, Sous-Préfet Mickaël Dore, ARS Territorial Director Paul Guibert, and Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital Director Marie Lampis Pattus. (Robert Luckock photo)
MARIGOT–The COVID-19 vaccination campaign starts in St. Martin from today, Wednesday, Regional Health Authority ARS Territorial Director Paul Guibert disclosed at a press conference in the Préfecture Tuesday following a steering committee meeting.
According to national policy, vaccinations will be carried out on a voluntary basis. The first vaccinations will take place today at 1:00pm at the Bethany Home, Marigot, where eight out of 28 residents in the home have consented to receive the vaccine. It was understood authorisation for the elderly has to be given by family members.
Some 63 persons on the French side have already volunteered to be vaccinated so far, it was revealed. The vaccine, 48 doses of which arrived from Guadeloupe, is the Pfizer-BioNTech.
Following the Bethany Home, vaccinations will take place at Louis-Constant Fleming Hospital from 2:00pm and during the coming days. The priority is to administer the vaccine to the elderly and vulnerable, and then front-line medical staff, nurses and doctors over 50 years and others with underlying conditions.
The vaccines for St. Martin are currently stored in Guadeloupe as the French side does not have the specific freezer set at -70 degrees Celsius for their storage. The vaccines will be transported to St. Martin in small batches according to need, and to ensure the vaccine is used with five days before it becomes obsolete. The patient will need to take a second booster shot 21 days after the first one to be fully immune.
A second phase of the campaign will target carers and persons over 75 years old, and then in descending order by age groups. Finally, the third phase will see the public at large receive the vaccine. Only persons on the French side who have social security entitlements such as the Carte Vitale can benefit from the vaccine. Those who have received the vaccine will be given a vaccine passport.
The campaign will begin in St. Barths on January 28.