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Health Ministry ramps up vaccination drive

Health Ministry ramps up vaccination drive
A resident receives his first dose of Astrazeneca vaccine on Monday at the Chapmans Community Centre.

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Last weekend, a vigorous thrust by the Ministry of Health to increase the vaccination rate among the local population seems to have paid some dividends.

And, the ministry will continue this community vaccination drive even as they continue to urge people to adhere to the COVID19 protocols in the midst of a spike in the number of covid cases and deaths.

Health Promotion Officer, Shanika John said at a virtual press conference yesterday that the Ministry of Health has not completed the tabulation of the numbers; however anecdotal reports, as well as checks at some health facilities by SEARCHLIGHT revealed a brisk turnout of persons to get vaccinated.

Eight health facilities were listed last weekend where the public could go to get vaccinated and John said they will do a similar publication following the press conference.

At the Stubbs Polyclinic last Saturday, five persons were still patiently waiting to be vaccinated as the clock ticked well past 6.00p.m.

One of them, a mother who had become infected with the covid virus while pregnant, had been there since 1.00p.m.

She told SEARCHLIGHT that she was taking the vaccine “because of my family,” wanting to be there to take care of them, including the now five month old baby.

“It (the vaccine) can’t prevent you from getting the disease but it can protect you from getting very sick, so if you can protect yourself from that you should do it,” said the mother who has two older children. She will be accompanying her 15 year old to take the vaccine and when her now 11 plus turns 12, she will also get her vaccinated. Mom who revealed that she was taking the sputnikV vaccine, also commended the nurses at the health facility for going “above and beyond” in their vaccination exercise; the other persons waiting nodded in agreement.

The apparent heightened interest in getting vaccinated was also very visible at the Chapmans Community Centre on Monday as residents of the area turned up to be tested or to take the covid vaccine.

There were four nurses assisted by a community health worker, with about 10 persons waiting to receive assistance.

 The health workers also fielded questions and shared information with those who turned up. Around 20 were given PCR tests while about eight, received the AstraZeneca vaccine during the time SEARCHLIGHT was there.

Residents inquired about the efficacy of the vaccine, how long before results would be made available to them, and what other steps are being taken in light of the recent death of a police officer from the area.

One brother of the deceased officer said he hopes some kind of quarantine is imposed on the community to protect the rest of the nation because one does not know who is infected and has already infected others.

 Among the persons who were tested was an eight year old boy whose family members were seeking to ascertain their COVID19 status.

The vaccination and testing exercise was however cut short at about 4:45 because the nurses feared they would have difficulties securing equipment as there was no electricity in the building which is under renovation.

Three vaccines are available to the local population: the AstraZeneca, SputnikV and the Pfizer.

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