Turning now to the data coming out of the Ministry of Health, there are four more Belizeans who have died as a result of COVID-19 today. According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the death toll now stands at five hundred and nine. In addition, there are two hundred and twenty-one new cases along with three hundred and forty-one people under investigation. Twenty-five people remain hospitalised along with ten in the ICU. In terms of vaccinations, Belize is still some ways off from the target of 71% of Belizeans to be fully vaccinated from the coronavirus. Technical advisor on maternal and child health, Doctor Natalia Beer explained that many of the frontline workers have gotten their first shot.
Dr.Natalia Beer, Technical Advisor on Maternal and Child Health: “We have 183,897 persons with complete vaccination. The target for the country is to achieve 71% of persons with complete vaccination for those who are receiving a vaccine that require two doses and for those who are receiving a one dose vaccine. Up to November 3rd we have 42.75% of persons with complete vaccination. This means that we have thirty plus percentage points that we need to achieve as a country. For the population 12-17 years the target is 58,292. To date those achieving a second dose is 37.5%. Again if the target here is 71%, although ideally it should be 100%,we are far away from that target.”
On October 28, Cabinet approved booster shots for all healthcare workers, persons 60 years and older, and for persons with comorbidities. Doctor Beer gave an update on that and spoke on the reasons why cases were spiking.
Dr.Natalia Beer, Technical Advisor on Maternal and Child Health: “In regards to the booster doses which we have started to administer, the benefits are to prevent life threatening COVID-19 in people who may not have responded to their initial vaccines. Booster doses increases your immune response and booster doses improve your level of protection against the Delta Variant. There are four interconnected factors for the rapid rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. Just to share with you all these are: The large number of persons with little or no symptoms. Long incubation period meaning persons start to present symptoms way up to 11 or 12 days after being exposed. A high reproduction number which represents the number of other persons infected by one infected person and of course well contaminated surfaces. So all of these interact and is what is driving the COVID-19 cases that we are presenting currently in the country.”
So far, two hundred and six thousand seven hundred and seventy people have gotten at least their first shot.