PHILIPSBURG:--- Nurse Claudette Rijff became the symbol of St. Maarten's battle against the Coronavirus pandemic when she took the first official jab of the Covid-19 vaccine live on Facebook this morning. The vaccines were provided by the Government of the Netherlands as part of the kingdom-wide response to the pandemic.
Nurse Rijff works at the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF). She is among those front liners who have been keeping the virus at bay from some of the country's most vulnerable - its elderly and differently-abled residents.
After receiving the jab in the muscle of her arm administered by fellow Nurse Nancy, Nurse Rijff was monitored on camera for 15 minutes for any reaction to the jab. None noted, she received her vaccination "passport" and is now due for her second jab in three weeks to build her immunity to 95 per cent against Covid-19 as promised by the vaccine.
The rollout of the Covid-19 jab is a major relief for WYCCF clients, the nurses, and the rest of the team. It means as more of both groups get the jab, they are steps closer to hugging their loved ones, that dearth of physically affection has been absent for almost a year.
Frontliners in the medical field also begun receiving their first jab today. This will continue until all are covered by the vaccine.
Everyone residing on St. Maarten - citizen or non-citizen - is eligible for the free Covid-19 jab. The only requirement is the registration process. Registration is possible online via the government website or by collecting and filling out a paper form available at various locations on the Dutch side.