On Tuesday, March 23rd, during the meeting between the four ministers responsible for public health of the Four Countries in the Kingdom, the Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor (Ministry VSA), Richard Panneflek, decided in consultation with the Netherlands that Sint Maarten will now offer the COVID-19 vaccine to all residents 18+ residing on the Dutch side of the island.
In the five weeks since the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, only medical frontline workers, persons 60+ and the group 18-59 years of age with underlying medical conditions, were eligible to receive the vaccine.
Essential workers and all other persons above the age of 18 years can now also be vaccinated. However, the vulnerable priority groups mentioned above will still get precedence once they register.
The reason for the decision to now include all persons above the age of 18 is that the vaccination campaign needs to be scaled up if the country wants to reach the goal of vaccinating 70% of the population before the start of the 2021 Atlantic hurricane season.
The numbers for the registered 60+ population are still low, which is a reason for concern as this group has the highest risk of developing severe COVID-19 infection.
Another concern is the increasing infection rates on Curacao and Bonaire due to the more contagious United Kingdom (UK) variant. This variant has been identified on Sint Maarten, and therefore, there is a need to protect our population against the COVID-19 virus has become even more important.
Pre-registration for the vaccine is strongly recommended. You will receive a date, time, and location for your vaccination. Minister Richard Panneflek and the Vaccine Management Team (VMT) would like to encourage all Dutch side residents 18 years and older to register. There will be sufficient vaccines available to cover 85% of the population.
Members of the community are reminded to register for the COVID-19 vaccine.
Registration can be done via the online registration form which is available in English, Spanish, and Creole, and can be found via this link: https://forms.sintmaartengov.org/form.aspx?v=OGtn05kNmb
Both Cole Bay and Dutch Quarter Community Helpdesks are currently equipped to provide information and can assist with registration on the spot. Do not forget to check the opening hours and bring a form of identification. Lastly, the paper-based “COVID Vaccine Registration Form” can be picked up at several locations, including CPS at the Vineyard Office Park Building, the Division of Labor Affairs at the Simpson Bay Public Service Center in Simpson Bay, doctors’ offices, the Government Administration Building, and select pharmacies.
If you have a friend, parent, neighbor, or relative that may need assistance with registration, transportation, or emotional support, please do your part. If you need help with the registration process, your appointment, or wish for more information about the vaccination campaign, you can also call CPS at 914 or email: va*********@si************.org
Sint Maarten, protected together.