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VMT announces 16, 17-Year-Olds and Pregnant Women are now Eligible for the COVID-19 Vaccine

The Vaccine Management Team (VMT) decided on Monday, May 10th, that based on the most recent guidelines, the following categories are now also eligible to receive their COVID-19 vaccine: Pregnant women, 16 and 17 years old with specific underlying health conditions proven by a letter from their pediatrician or General Practitioner (GP), or who can prove that vaccination is a requirement to enter tertiary education in the study year 2021-2022.

The Pfizer vaccine was approved for persons 16 years and older before the vaccination rollout started on Sint Maarten. However, priority was given to the elderly as they have the highest risk of severe health complications when infected with COVID-19.

The “Health Council” of the Netherlands (Gezondheidsraad in Dutch), an independent scientific institute that advises the Dutch Government on health issues, has recently released an advice to

offer the Pfizer vaccine to children 16 and 17 year-olds who have certain serious underlying conditions. These conditions are blood cancer, diagnosed within the last five years; severe kidney failure or on dialysis; severe primary immune deficiency; Down Syndrome; neurological disorders that result in difficulty breathing; morbid obesity, meaning a body mass index (BMI) >40, or persons who underwent an organ or bone marrow transplantation (or are on the waiting list for such).

Recent research has shown that the Pfizer vaccine is also safe for women who are pregnant. As of now, anyone who is pregnant can be vaccinated at any of the vaccination locations.

In the United States, the use of the Pfizer vaccine in children 12 – 15-years old was recently approved. VMT will await an official advice from the Dutch Health Council before further changes will be made in reducing the eligible age for those that can be vaccinated.

The VMT encourages everyone to register for the vaccine or walk-in at the Collective Prevention Service (CPS) office in Philipsburg, the Belair Community Center, or one of the Pop-Up vaccination locations in your neighborhood.

Sint Maarten currently has the best vaccine on the market available for free. All over the world, 1.3 billion persons have already taken it. It is scientifically proven that it is safe and protects against the COVID-19 virus (including the UK variant, which is now dominant on Sint Maarten).

Only if enough persons get vaccinated can Sint Maarten have herd immunity, end the pandemic and race back to normalcy!

Protect yourself, your loved ones, and Sint Maarten, and get vaccinated!