The Executive Director of the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr Joy St John, on Thursday said that several COVID-19 variants that are causing surges in the United States, the United Kingdom and China have “been circulating in the Caribbean since last year”.
Dr St John urged regional countries against shutting down their borders or implementing travel restrictions as a means of curbing the spread of the virus.
Speaking at the latest edition of the virtual series on “Global Health Reporting Initiative: Vaccines and Immunisation in the Caribbean,” organised by the Jamaica-based Media Institute of the Caribbean, the CARPHA official said the agency is working with member states in dealing with the situation.
“We have not been seeing the surges that are (affecting) the rest of the world. We have seen surges as I said before linked to other viruses, like the RSV, influenzas H2 and three.
“And so we are scientifically unjustified in trying to stop any particular country from coming to the region,” she said, adding “we are not seeing the level of illness that we saw when Delta was circulating rapidly in great numbers.
In her presentation, Dr St John urged the region to ensure that citizens are vaccinated.
She said if Caribbean countries have access to the newer World Health Organization approved vaccines, CARPHA is recommending to the member states that they should give national approval for these vaccines.
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