It was a smooth start to the vaccination process in southern Jamaica as 192 health care workers from the parishes of Clarendon, St. Elizabeth and Manchester received the COVID-19 vaccine on the first day, March 10.
Senior Medical Officer at the Mandeville Regional Hospital, Dr. Everton McIntosh, who was the first to receive the vaccine for the parish of Manchester, described it as a historic moment for Jamaica’s health sector.
“The only way to really control this pandemic is for a significant proportion of the population to be vaccinated against the virus. This particular vaccine that we are getting which is the AstraZeneca vaccine, to date both in the trials which were done and the millions of doses which were administered around the world, there have been no reports of serious reactions and so we are pretty happy that we should not have any untoward events.” Dr. McIntosh said.
The SMO added that it was critical that healthcare workers were among the first to be vaccinated to ensure that there is a viable health care sector to be able to care for others.
Acting Deputy Director of Nursing Services at the Black River Hospital in Manchester, Erica Myers, who is also an infection control nurse, was the first to receive the vaccine in St. Elizabeth and noted that it was important to lead by example.
“I have to lead by example. I work with the patients and I have a responsibility to protect myself and I have a responsibility to protect my staff and the population at large. Please come along and take your vaccine to protect yourself, to protect your family and to protect the nation. I feel great” Nurse Myers said.
For CEO of the May Pen Hospital, St. Andrade Sinclair it was also important for him to lead by example and take the vaccine. He was the first person to receive the jab in Clarendon.
“Unless we arrive at herd immunity we are going to have a problem. I have to lead by example and show my staff that you can take it too. I feel great and I encourage all healthcare workers and Jamaicans to come and get vaccinated as we try to combat this pandemic and return to normalcy” Mr. Sinclair said.
The vaccination process began with registration of persons, checking of their vital signs, administration of the vaccine, counselling and then observation.
Fifty thousand doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from India arrived on Monday, March 8, as the government began the process of vaccinating Jamaicans to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.