'Vaccination rate on Caribbean islands still insufficient'

THE HAGUE - The Dutch Ministry of Health is not satisfied with the vaccination coverage on the six Caribbean islands. The ministry will therefore provide communication advice to the relevant authorities this week.

In a letter to the Second Chamber of the Dutch Parliament about the current situation regarding Covid-19 on the islands, Minister Hugo de Jonge of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS) paints an unfavorable picture. With the exception of Saba and Sint Eustatius, the infections have increased again in recent days due to the delta variant of the virus. According to De Jonge, tourism and the 'significantly scaled-down measures' also play an important role.

The minister is positive about the vaccinations. More than 417,500 vaccines have been send to the islands. Despite the good start in February, the vaccination coverage is not sufficient. The ongoing infections and the pressure on healthcare provide sufficient reason for the communication advice, according to the ministry. “VWS urges the islands and the hospitals to formulate plans in the short term how the capacity of the Public Health and the Covid departments can be guaranteed in the medium and long term”.

Support for nursing staff from the United States will also continue for the time being. The phasing out of additional US healthcare personnel on the CAS islands (Curaçao, Aruba and St. Maarten) has been temporarily halted and partly reversed to meet the demand for ICU nurses and doctors, the ministry said.

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