The Ministry of Health and Wellness is expressing concern about the number of young people contracting the coronavirus (COVID-19) who may be transmitting the disease to their older, vulnerable family members.
Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, said that persons in the 20 to 29 and 30 to 39 age groups, account for the lowest number of persons vaccinated as well as the highest number of confirmed cases.
The younger demographic of unvaccinated persons, she pointed out, may be transmitters of the virus to persons over the age of 60, who are at greatest risk of contracting COVID-19.
She said that these older persons “still don’t have adequate protection because about 55 to 60 per cent of persons in the 60 to 69 group, and the 70 to 79 group are unvaccinated, so they certainly are vulnerable”.
The CMO was addressing the Ministry’s COVID Conversations press briefing on Thursday (April 29), which provided an update on the country’s COVID-19 status.
Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie reiterated that vaccination remains the most effective deterrent against severe illness from the virus.
“In terms of our vaccination programme, this is where we really want to motivate persons to go out and get vaccinated because the vaccination rates, the number of persons coming in for vaccinations are quite low and the number of persons coming to get their booster vaccinations is also quite low,” she said.
The CMO informed that only 25 per cent of persons are fully vaccinated, while another four per cent have received one out of two doses.
She attributes the uptick in the number of COVID positive cases to the presence of the highly transmissible new variant, Omicron BA.2 among the general population.
A total of 115 new cases were recorded on Wednesday (April 27).
Noting that hospitalisations for COVID-19 remain low at this time, Dr. Bisasor-Mckenzie, urged persons to complete the vaccination process to protect themselves from acute illness.
“With a reproductive rate of 1.4 out there… more persons are going to become COVID positive. If you are in that vulnerable population, then you can get a severe illness if you are not vaccinated. Please get vaccinated and ensure that your elderly relatives, friends, neighbours get vaccinated, so that that we do not suffer the effects of having severe hospitalisations as a result of increasing numbers,” she implored.