Medical Officer of Health, Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr. Marcia Johnson-Campbell, says there was a high take-up of the AstraZeneca coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine at the vaccination blitz in Westmoreland on Sunday (April 11).
Dr. Johnson-Campbell, who managed the mass vaccination site at the Sean Lavery Faith Hall in Savanna-la-Mar, told JIS News that the parish exceeded the 1,000 target with 1,123 people receiving the vaccine on the day.
She said that vaccination sites were also operated at the Savanna-la-Mar Public General Hospital and the Savanna-la-Mar Health Centre with those facilities, together, accounting for 356 of persons vaccinated.
Dr. Johnson-Campbell informed that the feedback from the public was positive, and there were no complaints or reports of negative reaction to the vaccine.
“The day has been very good. Persons were here from even 7:30 a.m… . There were persons who did not book appointments online but they walked in and we facilitated them,” she said.
Noting that vaccine hesitancy continues to be a growing challenge, Dr. Johnson-Campbell said that the evidence, to date, indicates that the AstraZeneca vaccine is safe.
“So we encourage persons to come and get the vaccine. I have received the vaccine, and other members of the healthcare team, the elderly and a lot of other persons have been vaccinated and, to date, we have had no adverse effects,” she pointed out.
“We believe that the benefits of the vaccine far outweighs any risk that may be there, and we are looking to move forward with life as a result of having the vaccine, which is going to reduce mortality, reduce morbidity, reduce hospitalisation, reduce the illnesses that people may have,” she continued.
Meanwhile, State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Juliet Cuthbert-Flynn, who visited the vaccination sites, told JIS News that she is pleased with the turnout, noting that there were no reports of glitches.
“Persons were excited to come out and get the vaccine and I hope that the entire country was just as happy to come out and get vaccinated against the COVID-19 disease. Ever since this deadly disease, we have been hearing the conspiracy theories… but I would say to Jamaicans, we know that COVID-19 is real and what it can do to the body, so I want to implore Jamaicans, once they reach the [targeted] age group to get vaccinated,” Mrs. Cuthbert-Flynn said.
Meanwhile, 27-year-old teacher at the Little London High School, Moya Williams, who received her vaccination at the Sean Lavery Faith Hall, said that getting inoculated is the first step in helping the country return to some level of normality.
“I can’t wait to get back to normal and this is the first step. I like to go out, I like to socialise and I miss doing that, so why not get the vaccine. In addition… the sooner we resume face-to-face classes, the education system can have some sense of normality as well,” she said.
Portfolio Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, also visited Westmoreland to observe the vaccination process.