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Five frontline workers first to take Covid vaccine

Five frontline workers first to take Covid vaccine
Dr Jerrol Thompson displays certificate after receiving his first dose of the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine yesterday.

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Dr Jerrol Thompson, one of the frontline workers who took their first dose of the Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine yesterday, has said that he is feeling “absolutely wonderful”.

Five frontline workers first to take Covid vaccine
A nurse administers a first dose of Russian Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine to Dr Roger Duncan yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon, Thompson and four other medical professionals were the first in the country to receive their jabs, as part of a small local trial, enabled by a donation of 40 doses of the vaccine.

The experienced infectious disease specialist said that moment made him feel honoured, proud and in awe.

“On top of that I feel really great. I feel absolutely wonderful,” he revealed.

The process apparently went smoothly. His blood pressure was checked, his pulse, and temperature, and those administering the vaccine made sure he was in a relaxed stated. The vaccine was then produced, and showed to him, before he was injected.

“I did not feel a thing,” he stated.

“As an individual who’s given many injections in my life before, I was really pleased now I was on the receiving end,” Thompson also disclosed.

After receiving the vaccine, he sat a while and observed no common side effects associated with injections in general, such as pain or redness at the injection site, muscle aches or joint pains. Further, he had not done so up until the time that he spoke with SEARCHLIGHT.

“…You see it on television and CNN and BBC and so I’m really glad that we started here in St Vincent and the Grenadines,” he commented.

Thompson will receive his second dose, as required to bring him to the full efficacy level of the vaccine, after 21 days, on February 22.

In the meantime, he will report every week.

This inoculation was captured on camera, and is also part of a training program for nurses as a demonstration of how the process is done.

Sputnik V is one of the many vaccines being administered across the world currently. It “is virtually identical to the Oxford-AstraZeneca, uses the same method, and there’s a substantial amount of collaboration now between Sputnik and the Oxford-AstraZeneca,” Dr Thompson explained.

He revealed that the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine is being considered by the authorities to be brought in to St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Both Oxford-AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccines are stored in a refrigerator of minus four degrees, while other vaccines such a Pfizer and Moderna must be kept at minus 20 and 70 degrees respectively. This is one of the issues being examined.

Another issue would be considering vaccines approved by WHO.

The WHO has so far approved only one vaccine. However, Thompson noted that the approval of WHO is a slower process, and that each country has its own approval process.

“The fact that it hasn’t been approved by the World Health Organization yet is not a deterrent,” he also said, and noted that there are many write-ups on the vaccine.

Thompson hopes that this trial will ease persons’ apprehensions. He said that there is also a lot of false information being produced about what the drugs will do, and where they come from, for example that they will turn persons into gorillas or that they’re it’s being developed in human embryos.

“All these things are false and we’re seeing where that information has gone out there and some people have believed it,” Thompson stated.

“We have to try our best to accept that people have their own belief system, but we have to also try our best to correct the views that are false as much as possible,” the doctor said.

Something else that persons may be anxious about is that it normally takes years for drugs to be approved.

However, “Most drugs, vaccines, have to wait their turn for some other product that was in front of them to go through the approval process,” but in these cases, the countries have put the Covid-19 vaccines over these others.

“So rather than sitting down in somebody’s desk for one year, two years, three years, waiting for your turn to be reviewed to come out, they had been fast tracked,” Thompson said.

“Persons may think that you would normally wait a few years to see the effect of a vaccine, no the effects of a vaccine would be seen within the first couple of weeks, couple of months of giving it, as regards whether it would resist the disease,” the doctor informed.

As previously announced, SVG is set to begin inoculation of the population through 20,000 vaccines provided freely through the global COVAX facility. This facility aims to provide equitable access and affordable options for all participating countries to access vaccines. This is a cause partly led by the World Health Organization (WHO). The first vaccines through this facility are hoped to be in the country within the first half of this year but there is said to be a “vaccine war” raging in the international sphere.

Vaccines beyond these 20,000 may be bought through the facility at a reduced rate.

Additionally, the option also exists for SVG to buy the vaccines from the manufacturers themselves.

“At each stage we’ll be keeping the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines informed how we do it, but ultimately we really must try and achieve that 70% mark of having that percentage of our population immunized so that we can have the herd immunity,” Thompson stated.