COVID-19 vaccine update

ORANJESTAD – On January 5, 2021, the Minister of Public Health Dangui Oduber informed about the COVID-19 vaccine that will soon be available in Aruba.

COVID-19 VaccinBefore the end of 2020, the Government discussed the vaccine topic during the four-country consultation.

Available COVID-19 vaccinesCurrently, there are 3 vaccines on the market.

  • Pfizer – that requires special storage at -80 degrees Celsius
  • Moderna – that requires storage at -20 degrees Celsius
  • Astra Zeneca – that can be stored in regular coolers

This year, more vaccines will be available on the market. In the first batch of vaccines, Aruba will receive the Pfizer vaccine.

The Netherlands will initiate vaccine administration on January 6th, 2021 to healthcare providers.

The State Secretary for Health, Welfare, and Sports Mr. Paul Blokhuis has already compromised with Aruba, Curacao, Sint Maarten, and the BES islands, that once the vaccine is available in the Netherlands, the partner countries will also receive their stock of vaccine. According to Minister Oduber, it is not clear how many vaccines will be sent to Aruba in the first batch, but assures that this will not be a large supply. The supply arriving in February 2021 is not expected to be large.

People who are the first to qualify for COVID-19 vaccination in Aruba. Those eligible for the first round of vaccination are healthcare providers and front-liners. Next are nursing home residents, and persons older than 60 years, who are at higher risks and lastly the general population. The Minister stated that The Netherlands will send the special storage freezers for when the vaccines arrive. The freezers will arrive on January 13, 2021, if everything goes according to plans.

TimelineThe National Institute for Health and Environment (RIVM) will be in Aruba to inspect the storage and preparations to receive the vaccines. The first vaccine is scheduled to be administered in the middle of February 2021.

Conditions set by the Netherlands

For Aruba to be eligible to receive the vaccine supply from the Netherlands, Aruba needs to comply with some conditions set by the Netherlands.

One of these conditions is to have an execution plan in place.

Requirements National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (Rijksinstituut voor Volksgezondheid en Milieu - RIVM) to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.    This plan should include :

  • A staffing plan;
  • Vaccination locations;
  • Proper vaccines storage location;
  • Coordination for the vaccination registration ;
  • An adequate transportation plan that guarantees the required storage temperatures when moving this from point A to point B;
  • Vaccine Storage freezers need to be certified
  • A communication plan should be in place.

The Government intends to have more people vaccinated as possible during the first quarter of 2021. In the first quarter of 2021, the Netherlands will have 8.2 million vaccines available from different suppliers and the Government hopes to receive enough supply for its people.

The Minister affirms that the vaccine is voluntary and every citizen has the right to either get vaccinated or not. The vaccine is not mandatory. It is important to keep complying with the safety regulations set by the Department of Public Health (DVG) and the Crisis Team.

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