Curaçao on its way to group immunity: "At the end of April, everyone had the first shot"

WILLEMSTAD - In Curaçao, more than 70,000 people registered for a vaccine against the Covid-19 virus on Monday, April 19; of these, nearly 14,000 people received their second dose.

According to epidemiologist Izzy Gerstenbluth, the aim is to vaccinate 85 percent of the community, with which group immunity can be achieved. Once that has happened, the island will no longer have to experience a lockdown.

There are about 125,000 adults on the island. To reach 85 percent, more than 106,000 people must be vaccinated. The island has rapidly scaled up the vaccination process in recent weeks after the local hospital was unable to cope with the influx of COVID patients in need of medical attention. "The situation in the hospital is still critical, but it has stabilized," said Germaine Gibbs, spokeswoman for the Curaçao Medical Center (CMC).

Moderna

The island hopes to be vaccinated out of the crisis as soon as possible and has opened several injection sites on the island. The island is currently vaccinating about 4,000 people a day. In order to be able to scale up vaccination, it was decided to switch from the Pfizer vaccine to the Moderna vaccine.

Moderna works in the same way as Pfizer, except it does not need to be stored in a special freezer at -80 degrees.

The Moderna vaccine can simply be stored in the refrigerator. The government has the ambition to vaccinate 7,000 people a day. At the end of April, anyone who wants can receive their first injection. This means that Curaçao may have achieved group immunity in May.

Despite the government's high commitment to achieving herd immunity, last week's figures showed a small drop in the number of people registering for the vaccination. General practitioner Jerry Semper suspects that switching to the Moderna vaccine has something to do with this. "We will not force anyone to vaccinate, but we do ask people to be properly informed about the vaccines via official websites". According to the doctor, there is a lot of "fake news" about the vaccines on social media.

90 percent

According to the GP, Moderna works via the same technique as Pfizer and both vaccines protect more than 90 percent against the COVID virus. Last week it was also announced that scientific research shows that if you are vaccinated you probably can no longer pass on the virus.

The measures were extended by two weeks during the press conference on April 15. Curaçao will remain in lockdown at least until April 30.




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