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Vincy volunteers receive first jabs

Vincy volunteers receive first jabs
COVID-19 vaccine being administered to Dr Godwin Friday at the Port Elizabeth Hospital in Bequia

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Opposition leader, Dr Godwin Friday and members of his family were among the first registered volunteers to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

Vincy volunteers receive first jabs
Executive Director of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce Anthony Regisford receiving his COVID-19 vaccine at the Stubbs Polyclinic on Sunday

More than 100 persons across five medical health facilities in the country, including the Union Island Health Centre, Port Elizabeth Health Centre, Buccament Polyclinic, Stubbs Polyclinic and the Levi Latham Health Centre received the Covishield (Indian) AstraZeneca vaccine on Sunday.

“…It’s a decision for each of us to take and I did it because I believe that it would offer protection from the virus, to myself and to my family members and that also, in my interaction with other people, hopefully it would encourage them to do similarly, so there’s two components to it,” Friday said on Nice radio yesterday.

The opposition leader, who was making his weekly appearance on the New Times radio programme, said he had a little soreness on his arm where he received the jab but that he felt fine otherwise.

He noted that he had a full and normal day on Sunday, which included attending a funeral, a meeting and virtual church at home.

Friday’s wife, Ave Friday and son, Nicholas Friday also received the vaccine on Sunday.

There was some discussion yesterday about why his son, Nicholas would take the vaccine when he was not in any of the identified vulnerable groups.

Friday said that many young people are hesitant about the vaccine and that scepticism cannot be dismissed given the amount of information being circulated on the various social media platforms.

“I thought, if he’s willing to do it and they’re willing to give it to him, it may serve some purpose in terms of public encouragement as well, because they see, here’s a young person who’s doing it and that, for myself, I had the sufficient confidence in it so that my entire family, who’s available here was taking the vaccine,” the opposition leader said.

He added that through research and conversations with medical professionals, he understands and believes that the vaccine is a way of achieving herd immunity and will allow for communities to get back to a level of normalcy.

Several other persons expressed their confidence in the vaccination process by volunteering to receive the COVID-19 jab as well.

Anthony Regisford, executive director of the SVG Chamber of Industry and Commerce was among the persons who received their first dose of the Covishield (Indian) AstraZeneca vaccine at the Stubbs Polyclinic on Sunday.

“I feel that of all the tools that we have in our toolkit to fight the transmission of the COVID-19 virus…I think the vaccine seems to be the one that will be the most effective and so, in order to protect myself, and others, I decided that I will go for the vaccine,” Regisford told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday afternoon.

Volunteering to take the vaccine was also his way of encouraging others to be get vaccinated as well.

He noted however, that taking a vaccine is a personal choice and that it was understandable that persons may be apprehensive for whatever reasons.

Regisford commended the healthcare professionals at the Stubbs Polyclinic for the professional and seamless service that was given on Sunday.

“We use social media in a pejorative way and unfortunately, some of the people in the health service, some of our health professionals come off on the negative end of that action and I am personally upset…because I honestly believe the people in the health service are properly trained and they leave their homes to go to their work to deliver a service, an invaluable service, as their training permits them to do,” he said.

The executive director added that there was no reason for persons to undermine trust in the healthcare system and its professionals by making these disparaging statements, which have the potential to create confusion and chaos and engender a lack of trust among the public.

He explained the full vaccination process, noting that the nurse who administered his vaccine adhered strictly to hand hygiene. He was also asked to stay at the polyclinic for about 15 minutes so that he could be observed for any adverse reactions.

And a nurse made a follow-up call to him the following day.

The executive director told SEARCHLIGHT that he had no adverse reactions to the vaccine although he had been informed that after effects could include a sore arm, headache or fever and given reading material on how to address them.

Persons who received the first dose of the vaccine on Sunday are due for the second dose in about six weeks’ time.

The voluntary vaccination process for Vincentians which started on Sunday, is ongoing.

Persons interested in receiving the COVID-19 vaccine can register by sending an email to vaccine.gov.vc with their name, telephone number, current address, age and gender.

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