Barbadians are being warned to expect another surge in COVID-19 cases.
Joint Coordinator of the National Vaccination Programme Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand on Friday placed the country on notice as she said that too many people have let their guards down and were behaving as if the virus no longer exists.
She cited Britain and China as examples of countries that are once again experiencing a rise in cases for those same reasons and cautioned that Barbados would follow suit on the current path.
“Because we opened up the country, everybody is going around as if it is normal, but it is not normal. COVID is still around, it is affecting people, people are still dying, and young people are too. It’s not over and we should still continue to be cautious, do our distancing and try to wear our masks when we are going out into a crowd,” the senior public health official said during an interview with Barbados TODAY.
“It’s going to go up because everybody has put their guards down. I mean, China has been locking down, people have been fighting against this…. They have been locking down because their numbers are going up. Everywhere is going to go back up and ours are going to go up too, I’m afraid. We just have to be cautious. We can’t live in isolation forever. Yes, we opened up and we have to get on the road. So we have to move, but we have to move cautiously.”
Dr Ferdinand also appealed to residents to get immunised against COVID to help protect themselves from serious illness, particularly in the face of the potential skyrocketing in the number of cases.
She said vaccine supplies are currently limited.
“We are presently very short of vaccines. We don’t have any either for the children or the adults, except for Johnson and Johnson and Sinopharm. So the vaccine of choice is not available so I think that people are not coming forward for what we have,” Dr Ferdinand disclosed.
“The second thing is that . . . those who wanted it [the vaccine] have had it. They have had maybe one booster and they are not interested in coming for another booster or for a first booster. So that in itself is also another thing. People don’t want it,” the top public health expert stated.
Dr Ferdinand promised that when vaccines become available again, the public will be notified.
The latest official statistics show that up to November 25, 163 820 people have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 154 972 have been fully vaccinated. That means that 60.4 per cent of the population has taken the first of two jabs and 57.2 per cent are fully vaccinated.
Up to that time, Barbados had recorded 104 416 cases and 567 deaths.