In the coming days, the vaccination teams of the various islands in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, in collaboration with the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport (VWS), will start a research on vaccination preparedness.
The purpose of the research is to come up with strategies to back up the vaccination communication campaign teams in order to support the vaccination process in the last phase. The research will be executed by local researchers in collaboration with I&O Research.
In February 2021, the COVID-19 vaccination programs on the BES (Bonaire, Sint Eustatius, Saba) islands and CAS (Curacao, Aruba, Sint Maarten) countries started in stages. People aged 60
or over and healthcare staff were the first in line to be vaccinated.
Since April, this was extended to all those aged 18 or over and since the beginning of July it is now available to 12 to17 year-olds.
In the meantime, almost 400,000 vaccinations have been administered to inhabitants of the islands.
The National Institute for Public Health and the Environment (RIVM) calculates that, since the Delta variant of the virus has been detected on all three CAS- countries and Bonaire, a vaccination rate of approximately 75 to 85% of the total population should be reached in order to achieve herd immunity.
Currently, we have not yet reached this vaccination rate (fully vaccinated, total population of 12 years and older). The vaccination teams on the islands / countries indicate that they do not have a good, evidence-based view of what keeps vaccine sceptics and refusers from being vaccinated, and that they therefore do not exactly know how to adapt their vaccination or communication policy in order to increase the vaccination preparedness.
For this reason, the Dutch Ministry of VWS in partnership with health authorities on the islands / countries in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom, are going to execute a qualitative research on the Leeward and Windward islands by means of in-depth interviews and focus group interviews on the reasons why people choose to be vaccinated or not. Specific attention will be given to 12–40-year-olds in this.
The research will take place in August 2021, in which the research results will be presented at the beginning of September to the VWS and the vaccination teams of the islands / countries in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
Based on the in-depth interviews, the researchers will formulate specific policy recommendation to increase the vaccination preparedness in the Caribbean part of the Kingdom.
In doing so, they will consider the local circumstances on the various islands / countries, including the capacity of the vaccination teams to take up these recommendations.
The research team is currently on island until August 20, 2021. For persons who are interested in participating in this research, please call the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA) Collective Prevention Service (CPS) at 914, and your participation and responses will be confidential. We will also be adhering to strict COVID-19 protocols and limiting the number of participants per focus group.