On Bonaire vaccinations against the corona virus will start in February. It is important to be vaccinated against the coronavirus as it is crucial for your own health and the health of those around you. The spread of the coronavirus is stopped more effectively if more people get vaccinated. This way, fewer people get sick and the most vulnerable people on our island are protected. This reduces pressure on our healthcare system.
You’ll find information about vaccines on this page, but also the preparations and approach of the vaccination program on Bonaire. For answers to most frequently asked questions, you can also take a look at the Q&A pages.
Viruses and vaccines
A virus is a very small particle containing genetic material. A virus can make you ill. A virus must be inside your body in order to be able to multiply. There are various types of viruses, such as the flu virus, zika virus, and the coronavirus. A vaccine trains your body to defend itself against a virus and eliminate it.
A vaccine is a medicine that protects you against infectious diseases, such as measles, rubella, mumps, and also COVID-19. The vaccine ensures that you do not become very ill when you become infected with a virus. When you are inoculated or vaccinated, you receive an injection with the vaccine in your upper arm. You will get two injections, the second of which you will receive about a month after the first.
When you get the vaccine, your body will react by making antibodies. This is how you build resistance to the virus. Should you then become exposed to the virus, your body will recognize it and it will start producing antibodies more quickly. In this way there is only a small chance that you will become very ill.
At the moment two coronavirus vaccines have been approved for use in the Netherlands: The PfizerBioNTech vaccine and the Moderna vaccine. Approval has been requested for the AstraZeneca vaccine and it is expected it will be granted on 29 January, 2021.
Testing of vaccines and safety
Before a vaccine comes onto the market it is rigorously tested. A vaccine will only be introduced to the market if it is certain that it works well and it is safe. Vaccines are, therefore, first tested in extensive human trials before they are released to the market. This is done to ensure that a vaccine does not have any serious side effects. The European Medicines Agency (EMA) must approve vaccines before they are allowed on the European market. Bonaire will receive the PfizerBioNTech vaccine from the Netherlands.
With most vaccines people may experience side effects after being inoculated. This may include pain or a small red bump at the injection site. You may also experience fatigue, headache, muscle pain, an elevated temperature or chills. For most people the side effects go away within a few days after the inoculation.
If you are seriously ill, allergic to certain medicines or pregnant, please discuss this with your family doctor or the Public Health Department team in order to establish whether you should get vaccinated or not.
It is up to you whether you get vaccinated
You may decide for yourself whether or not to get vaccinated. It is not mandatory. However, if you do get vaccinated, you will be protecting yourself and the people around you and should you come into contact with the virus later on, you will not become seriously ill. The more people get vaccinated, the fewer cases we will have of COVID-19 with serious symptoms.
Transporting vaccines to Bonaire
The freezers needed to store the vaccines have arrived on Bonaire on 25 January. One freezer is suitable for the storage of vaccines at -70 degrees Celsius and the other can store vaccines at -20 degrees Celsius.
Storage of the COVID-19 vaccines
The vaccines will be kept in a safe location on Bonaire. Before use, the vaccines will be thawed and transferred to specialized coolers. The PfizerBioNTech vaccines are stored in a freezer at -70 degrees Celsius.
When will the first people be vaccinated on Bonaire?
The plan is to start in the second half of February 2021. In phase one, people aged 60 years and older and healthcare personnel will be vaccinated. In phase two people 18 to 60 years will be vaccinated.
Signing up for vaccination
You will be invited to make an appointment for vaccination by announcements on the radio, TV, in the newspaper and social media. Appointments will be made with a special team. When you make the appointment for your first vaccination, an appointment will also be made for your second one.
Who provides the vaccinations
We expect that 19,000 people will be vaccinated on Bonaire. A team of nurses and physician assistants will be in charge of the vaccinations and the administration.