The announcement that the two doses of Covid-19 vaccination would be required for using public transport and for access to many places has delivered the desired results. Thousands are again lining up to be vaccinated. In the Dominican Republic where already around 60% of the population is vaccinated, but the government has vaccine stocks for 100%+.
The vaccines have spared the population a major spike in Covid-19 cases with the entry of more aggressive variants. But now that the Presidency has removed curfew restrictions nationwide, the measures seek to motivate those that have not been vaccinated to get with it.
As of 18 October 2021, the government will be requesting physical or digital proof that a person is fully vaccinated for entering government offices, public transport and schools.
The Ministry of Public Health Coronavirus Bulletin #574 reports 752 new cases, down from the recent high of 886 for the 6 October bulletin. There continue to be significant increases in cases for Greater Santo Domingo. The positivity for the National District is at 10.57% and for Santo Domingo province at 8.95%.
The national 4-week positivity rate for the 13 October 2021 Epidemiological Bulletin #574 is at 9.78%, up from the previous day. The 24-hour positivity for the day is 12.54%, down from the previous day.
Twelve provinces and the National District present a positivity rate over 10%. These are Pedernales 27.66%, Peravia 26.79%, Montecristi 21.38%, Dajabón 15.70%, Santiago Rodríguez 15.26%, La Romana 13.31%, El Seibo 12.65%, Azua 11.38%, Sánchez Ramírez 10.32%, San Cristóbal 10.27%, La Altagracia 11.17%, National District 10.57% and Valverde 10.00%.
The authorities are tackling the rise in cases with new efforts to override resistance to vaccination in many population groups that allege religious reasons and among others who distruct the vaccines or have just not taken the time to get vaccinated. The authorities seek to disavow the counsel of evangelical pastors who are known to strongly discourage vaccinating among their followers.
The goal is that at least 70% of the adult population be fully vaccinated. The authorities say the vaccines have protected people that catch the disease from being hospitalized. Death numbers and hospitalizations continue to be under control despite the recent surge in cases.
The 752 new cases for bulletin #574 compare to the 7-day nationwide average for confirmed cases that is 628, down from the previous day. The increase in cases is attributed to the whirlwind of activities related to the start of in-person learning in early September for private schools and 20 September for public schools. The 24 September long weekend is said to also have contributed to the recent increase in cases. This is in addition to the circulation of the variants, including Gamma, Alpha, Delta and Mu. The government is also concerned of the impact the elimination of the curfew nationwide and the upcoming winter baseball professional championship will have on the spread of Covid-19.
The Ministry of Public Health’s Epidemiology Department Coronavirus Bulletin #574 reports active Covid-cases are 7,275, down (-14) from the previous day.
As per Bulletin #574, with the deadline of 13 October 2021, the Ministry of Public Health has registered 368,131 confirmed cases since the first case on 1 March 2020. Labs carried out 5,998 first-time tests. This number of tests compares with the 14-day average now at 4,682.
The Ministry of Public Health is monitoring the new variants and their impact in the Dominican Republic as curfew restrictions are reduced to a minimum. The Ministry says unvaccinated people are driving the spread of the disease.
The Ministry of Public Health is closely monitoring the situation now that circulation restrictions that were part of the National State of Emergency were removed on 11 October 2021.
The government is betting on getting more people vaccinated. While there is an increase in cases, the death rate and hospitalizations continue under control. The government says that around 59% of the population is fully vaccinated and this is making the difference.
In its vaccination bulletin with data for the 10 October 2021 deadline, the Ministry of Public Health reports on percentages of population with two doses of Covid-19 vaccine. The average is 57.84%. See the individual percentages:
La Altagracia (Punta Cana) – 89.6%
National District – 84.5%
Pedernales – 73.8%
Espaillat (Moca) – 66.9%
Puerto Plata – 65.2%
San Pedro de Macorís (Juan Dolio) – 62.3%
La Romana – 61.7%
Independencia – 60.1%
Sánchez Ramírez (Cotuí) – 59.3%
Barahona – 58.2%
San José de Ocoa – 57.9%
Dajabón – 57.6%
Baoruco – 57.0%
San Juan de la Maguana – 56.7%
Monte Plata – 56.3%
Valverde – 55.0%
Montecristi – 54.3%
Santiago Rodríguez – 54.2%
El Seibo –53.6%
Azua – 53.6%
Hato Mayor – 53.2%
Peravia (Baní) – 52.8%
Santiago – 52.3%
Samaná – 52.2%
Hermanas Mirabal – 51.6%
María Trinidad Sánchez (Nagua) – 50.9%
Santo Domingo – 50.8%
Elías Piña – 50.5%
Duarte (San Francisco de Macorís) – 50.5%
La Vega – 50%
Monseñor Nouel (Bonao) – 49.3%
San Cristóbal – 49.0%
Decree 622-21 removed the curfew. Yet the Ministry of Public Health issued Resolution #048 that maintains a ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages from 12 midnight to 5am nationwide.
Ministry of Public Health permits continue to be required for events where people agglomerate and public places and private places for public use are limited to 75% of capacity.
The general vaccination drive is open to persons 12+ years old since Saturday, 12 June 2021 with the arrival of Pfizer vaccines to select vaccination centers. As of 2 July 2021, a third Pfizer booster shot has been available for adults.
The number of persons seeking vaccinations surpassed 30,000 a day for the first time since 1 September when vaccinations began to decline. For the 12 October deadline, Our World in Data reports that 35,482 first and second dose vaccines were applied, a significant increase over the previous day. The rolling 7-day average as of 13 October 2021 deadline is now at 26,113 vaccines applied per day. The VacunateRD government website reports the injecting of 6,202,706 first doses of the vaccine and 5,027,184 second doses for the 13 October 2021 vaccination deadline. The record vaccinations for one day was 184,208 on 10 June 2021.
The National Vaccination Plan recommends a booster shot different from the first two doses to be applied a month after the second dose of the Sinovac vaccine and three months after the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. The Pfizer booster vaccine is being applied to persons with co-morbidities and seniors, and at demand in select vaccination stations. For the 12 October 2021 deadline, the Ministry of Public Health had reported that 1,061,855 people had received the Pfizer third booster shot, mostly people older than 50 years.
By regional standards, the Dominican Republic has been relatively successful at treating Covid-19 and keeping the number of deaths low. For the 13 October 2021 deadline, Worldometer lists the 1M deaths per inhabitant rate for the Dominican Republic at 371. According to the same 1M deaths statistics, fewer people have died of Covid-19 in the Dominican Republic than in Brazil at 2,805, Argentina at 2,528, Colombia at 2,457, the United States at 2,218, Italy at 2,178, the United Kingdom at 2,023, Spain at 1,857, France at 1,790, Russia at 1,509, Germany 1,133 and Canada at 743, all major markets for Dominican tourism and countries with overall better health systems.
Five Covid-related deaths are recorded for the 13 October 2021 deadline. Five deaths are reported having occurred in the previous 24 hours of the deadline. As of the 13 October 2021 deadline, 4,082 persons are reported to have died of the disease in the Dominican Republic, a nation of more than 10.8 million adults since March 2020. The fatality rate is at 1.11%. The fatality rate per 1M inhabitants is 390.68. Dominican physicians’ diverse treatment for the disease has been relatively successful in the region. The Ministry of Public Health reports that the country’s 390.68 fatality rate per 1M compares favorably to the average 1M inhabitants’ fatality rate for the Americas at 2,165.75.
The Ministry of Public Health report #574 indicates 23% of Covid-19 hospital beds are occupied (610 of 2,604 total available), down from the previous day. 33% of the intensive care units for Covid-19 are taken (203 of 609), down from the day before. The hospitalization statistics are for all the country. Hospitalization demand in Greater Santo Domingo, Santiago and other major cities is much higher than the national average.
The past seven days bulletin result highlights are:
Bulletin #574: 368,131 confirmed cases, 752 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,275 active cases, five deaths are reported for the deadline, and five deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 390.68.
Bulletin #573: 367,379 confirmed cases, 668new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,289 active cases, five deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 390.20.
Bulletin #572: 366,711 confirmed cases, 520 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,616 active cases, five deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 389.72.
Bulletin #571: 366,191 confirmed cases, 633 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,792 active cases, no deaths are reported for the deadline, and no deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 389.24.
Bulletin #570: 365,558 confirmed cases, 495 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,510 active cases, no deaths are reported for the deadline, and no deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 389.24.
Bulletin #569: 365,063 confirmed cases, 811 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,898 active cases, two deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 389.24.
Bulletin #568: 364,252 confirmed cases, 517 new cases reported in the past 24 hours, 7,453 active cases, two deaths are reported for the deadline, and two deaths happened in the past 24 hours. The fatality rate per 1M is 389.05.
Greater Santo Domingo continues to lead in the number of reported PCR cases. As of 13 October 2021 at 6pm, the deadline for Bulletin #574, the most confirmed cases have been reported in the National District (97,645) and the Santo Domingo province (79,494). The numbers account for 50% of the 368,131 confirmed cases nationwide.
For the 13 October deadline, there were more than 10 cases reported in more than half of the Dominican provinces, reflecting the presence of the virus nationwide. There were 158 cases in Santiago, 80 in Puerto Plata, 70 in Santo Domingo province, 53 in the National District, 39 in Valverde, 41 in Santiago Rodríguez, 29 in La Altagracia, La Romana and San Cristóbal, 26 in Dajabón and Montecristi, 21 in Pedernales, 15 in San Juan de la Maguana and San Pedro de Macorís, 14 in Espaillat (Moca), 13 in Monte Plata, 12 in Independencia, 11 in María Trinidad Sánchez, Sánchez Ramírez (Cotuí0 and Monseñor Nouel (Bonao), and 10 in Hato Mayor.
Province case totals are: Santiago (38,069), La Romana (13,257), La Altagracia (13,040), San Cristóbal (12,724), La Vega (12,722), Puerto Plata (9,814), Duarte (8,656), Espaillat (7,620), San Pedro de Macoris (6,151), San Juan de la Maguana (5,903), Barahona (4,871), Maria Trinidad Sánchez (4,652), Azua (4,641), Valverde (4,160), Monseñor Nouel (4,106), Sánchez Ramírez (3,969), Peravia (3,518), Hermanas Mirabal (3,477), Monte Plata (2,380), Montecristi (2,244), Baoruco (2,024), Santiago Rodriguez (2,010), Dajabón (1,899), Hato Mayor (1,761), San José de Ocoa (1,437), Independencia (1,426), El Seibo (1,258), Samaná (1,252), Pedernales (1,081) and Elías Piña (565) as of the 13 October 2021 deadline.
Public schools reopened for in-person learning on 20 September 2021. Many private schools opened for in-person learning before 1 September 2021. Schools continue to be subject to health protocols. Universities reopened for classes in August but require students and teachers to have the full vaccination dose. The Health Cabinet is reviewing the approval of vaccinating school children ages 5 to 11 years old.
The government seeks to vaccinate 7.8 million adults of the population of 10.8 million. The 7.8 million does not take into consideration those 12-18 years of age that of June 2021 are included in the vaccination campaign with the regular arrival of batches of Pfizer vaccines.
Regarding Covid-19 testing in the Dominican Republic, private labs have special facilities for those requiring results in time for travel abroad. Results of PCR tests can be had in 24 hours for those presenting a valid airline ticket at labs carried out the test in Santo Domingo, Santiago, Puerto Plata, La Romana and Punta Cana. Antigen tests results can be had in three hours at select labs in the same locations. Nevertheless, travelers are recommended to make arrangements with extra time. PCR test results are usually given in 24 hours or less online.
Canada and Spain are requiring all entering to show negative results of a PCR test carried out within 72 hours before the traveler’s scheduled departure to those countries. Yet, Spain has announced that travelers who have the two doses of the Sinovac or Pfizer vaccine at least two weeks before the travel date can enter without a PCR test. Both vaccines are now available in the Dominican Republic. Around 70% of those vaccinated in the Dominican Republic have received the Sinovac/Coronavac vaccine. The US requires travelers to show negative antigen or PCR test results taken within 72 hours of the arrival to US territory.
Open-air public spaces, such as parks and boulevards, can be used for activities other than social gatherings and always complying with preventive health protocols. Gyms, restaurants and bars are allowed to operate at 75% of their capacity. Theaters have resumed showings under health protocols.
Hotels and resorts have operated throughout the pandemic under previously established less restrictive health protocols. In July, the Ministry of Tourism authorized again booking up to 100% of room capacity. Booster shots have been made available to all hotel personnel as an extra step to ensure the safety of guests and staff alike.
The government began to vaccinate for the Covid-19 virus on 16 February 2021. As of 3 September 2021, the Dominican Republic had received 21,737,730 vaccine doses, of which around 72.77% have come from China – 15,768,000 Sinovac and 50,000 Sinopharm vaccines (15,818,000). Pfizer has delivered 5,530,530 vaccine doses for 20.84%. Of the AstraZeneca vaccine, the delivered 1,389,200 doses represent 6.39% of the total. The Abinader administration donated 101,000 doses to Honduras and 304,000 doses to Guatemala to boost their vaccination campaigns.
The most recent reported arrivals of vaccines are: A batch of Astra Zeneca vaccines on 2 August 2021. And a batch of 100,620 of Pfizer vials on 4 August 2021. Another batch of 503,100 Pfizer vaccines arrived on 6 August. On 10 August a batch of Astra Zeneca vaccines with 77,600 vials was received. On 13 August, a batch of 431,730 Pfizer vaccines arrived. On 27 August, the government reported the arrival of a batch of 184,800 AstraZeneca vaccine doses and 572,680 Pfizer doses. On 29 August the Health Cabinet announced the arrival of a 2 million Sinovac/Coronavac vaccine doses. On 1 September, the Health Cabinet announced the arrival of 503,100 Pfizer vaccines. On 3 September, a shipment of 180,180 Pfizer vaccines arrived. The government has a surplus of vaccines. The Health Cabinet has not shared updates on new arrivals of vaccine stock. President Luis Abinader announced on 22 September 2021 speaking at the UN General Assembly that the Dominican Republic had donated 802,000 vaccines to neighboring countries.
Free vaccines are available at more than 1,400 vaccination centers nationwide. The Pfizer vaccine is available at major vaccination sites. The Pfizer vaccine is also available as a booster shot for those who have received the two Sinovac or AstraZeneca vaccines and at demand for those who prefer this vaccine. It is also available for those who need the vaccine for travel purposes.
The Ministry of Public Health continues to mandate keeping to the preventive measures of mask-wearing, physical distancing in public spaces, hand hygiene and keeping to well-ventilated areas. In the cities, mask-wearing is the norm and is mandatory. As of recent weeks, mask usage has been relaxed in public areas. People are gathering in restaurants and bars without masks, and discos and theaters are again open. Shopping malls and major stores continue to require the use of the facial masks. Those attending sports and theater performances need to keep their masks on during the events.
Haiti is reported having 22,731 confirmed cases and 649 deaths, as per the 13 October 2021 global epidemiological deadline. Haiti has only just begun to start its Covid-19 vaccination program. This was because the Haitian government rejected a first Covax facility donation of AstraZeneca vaccines. The Dominican government authorized the vaccinating of Haitians with domicile in the Dominican Republic. A donation of Moderna vaccines was shipped to Haiti for the start of the vaccination program. As of 10 October 2021, 95,732 doses of Spikevax (Moderna) vaccines had been applied in Haiti at the 128 open vaccination centers since the start of vaccination on 16 July 2021. Haiti rejected a donation of 100,000 AstraZeneca vaccines from the Dominican Republic. Only 26,694 people are fully vaccinated (2 doses) in Haiti as of the 10 October 2021 data update.
Overall, health experts attribute the general low number of deaths in Haiti (56 per 1M pop compared to 371 per 1M in the DR) as of 13 October 2021 in part due to widespread vaccinating of babies with the tuberculosis vaccine and widespread use of ivermectin for parasites that have raised the immunity of the population. In-person education has continued regularly in Haiti, and most people do not wear masks nor exercise physical distancing.
In the Americas, the Dominican Republic is now ranked 19th in confirmed PCR cases after the United States, Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Canada, Ecuador, Bolivia, Paraguay, Panama, Cuba, Costa Rica, Uruguay, Guatemala, Venezuela and Honduras.
15 October 2021