Healthcare workers in St. James turned out in large numbers to take the first of two jabs of the COVID-19 vaccine, as the Government’s vaccination drive began on Wednesday, March 10.
Doctors, nurses, community health aides and even pharmacists were among the 200 public healthcare professionals registered to receive the drug across three separate vaccination centres in the parish.
These centres were located at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH), Montego Bay Comprehensive Health Centre (Type V) and Sandals Carlyle.
Certified Emergency Nurse at CRH, Shellomie Golding, was among the first set of public healthcare workers to receive the vaccine on the day.
She told journalists that she was happy that the vaccine is here in Jamaica and that she was privileged enough to get her first dose.
“I am not having any pain, I don’t feel any way. Actually, I am going back to work after taking the vaccine. It is not anything to worry about,” Ms. Golding said.
She is urging others to follow suit and take the vaccine when the opportunity comes, in order to fight against the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Community Health Aide, Philip Dehaney, said he initially had doubts about taking the vaccine, but being a representative of the public health sector he chose instead to lead by example and take the vaccine.
“It’s just like a regular flu shot. Nothing really much to fear. It all depends on the person’s body and immune system, but it’s best you take the vaccine,” Mr. Dehaney said.
“While the vaccine might not protect you 100 per cent from the virus, it actually lessens the effect that the virus will take on the body if you contract the virus. Also, the younger you are the better it is for you. Most young people, their immune system is quite active and strong, so they have a more likely chance of not having any side effects,” he added.
Pharmacist, Jermaine Harris, indicated that being among the first persons to be inoculated is very encouraging and others should take note. He explained that given the many deaths and hospitalisations caused by COVID-19, he was willing to take the vaccine and return to the front line.
“We have been seeing pharmacists being educators, sensitising persons about vaccination and why it is important. I myself have been having webinars educating the church and the community about vaccinations and what we intend to achieve with vaccination,” Mr. Harris pointed out.
At the end of week one, the Government intends to vaccinate 17,050 healthcare workers across the country. They will be ready for the second dose in another eight to 12 weeks.