SLMDA Renews Vaccination Appeal Amid Concerns Over New COVID-19 Variant

The content originally appeared on: St. Lucia Times News

The Saint Lucia Medical and Dental Association (SLMDA) has reiterated a call to the local population to get vaccinated after South Africa announced the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant.

“I would to remind the Saint Lucian population that vaccination is a proven way to stop the natural spread and mutation of viruses. That means if more people vaccinate you prevent any new variants from popping up,” SLMDA Public Relations Officer Dr. Monique Monplaisir said.

Monplaisir said she was ‘extremely grateful’ that Saint Lucia’s COVID-19 numbers are again going down.

But she observed that if more people get the COVID-19 vaccine, Saint Lucia will prevent another COVID-19 wave like it experienced due to the Delta Variant and prevent new variants from ‘popping up’.

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“Please my people, vaccinate for you, for me, for us,” Monplaisir urged.

After South African health officials announced the discovery of the new COVID-19 variant, currently known as B.1.1.529, media reports indicated that it appears to be spreading rapidly in parts of South Africa.

In addition, Botswana, Hong Kong, Israel and Belgium say they have detected the variant in travellers.

Due to the new variant, people arriving in the U.K. from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Lesotho, Eswatini, and Zimbabwe will have to self-isolate for ten days.

In addition, European Union nations also moved quickly on Friday to try to stop air travel from southern Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO), for its part, scheduled a meeting on Friday to decide whether the B.1.1.529 variant should be considered one “of interest” or “of concern,” designations that signify the amount of risk that it could pose to global public health.

The WHO said it would “share further guidance for government on actions they can take.”

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