Source: St Lucia Times –  Saint Lucia’s Minister of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, Moses Jn Baptiste, told a news conference Wednesday that the recent deaths of two fully vaccinated individuals in Saint Lucia illustrates the ‘changing nature’ of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Health officials said both deceased had ‘co-morbid conditions’.

“These are individuals that come in – they have COVID, but in addition to COVID they have other illnesses,” Medical Director at the Respiratory Hospital, Dr. Alicia Eugene-Ford, who also addressed the news conference, explained, adding that the other diseases would include diabetes, sickle cell, end stage renal disease and cancer.

She recalled that Saint Lucia started its vaccination drive in February.

“If you look at our admissions, from February until present you’re looking at 1, 460 admissions and I am talking about persons who were sick and to be admitted – persons who come to the emergency room that come in and the physician may decide they’re not sick to be admitted. You can go home on quarantine or you can go on home isolation. So that 1, 406 are actually from patients who are sick and admitted. Out of these, we have 20 fully vaccinated individuals,” Eugene-Ford explained.

She noted that the symptoms of those individuals were milder than others who had similar ‘clinical pictures’ and were not vaccinated.

“Out of that twenty we have, after the verification process, we have two recent deaths,” the Medical Director stated.

According to health officials, one of the deaths had been previously reported prior to verifying the vaccination status.

And the second death was at the time, yet to be reported as an individual who was fully vaccinated.

As the Caribbean Island continues to battle a worrying surge in COVID-19 cases, Saint Lucia recently registered 15 Cuban health care workers under a bi-lateral arrangement with that Spanish-speaking country.

“We are working along with them to familiarise them with our work processes. We have received a few staff members from the Owen King European Union Hospital to join the team and the Ministry of Health, which is our parent ministry, has been employing individuals who are not clinical but are porters and domestics and ancillary staff, which would allow us to work better,” Dr. Alisha Eugene-Ford disclosed.

The Minister of Health said that the government’s priority has been to provide much needed additional support to the public health system, especially that part which has a direct impact on COVID-19.