Wed | Dec 1, 2021

St James health workers turn out in droves for vaccine

Published:Thursday | March 11, 2021 | 12:20 AM
Thirty-one-year-old Jermaine Harris, pharmacist at the J&J Pharmacy, was the youngest person vaccinated at the Western Regional Health Authority yesterday.
Thirty-one-year-old Jermaine Harris, pharmacist at the J&J Pharmacy, was the youngest person vaccinated at the Western Regional Health Authority yesterday.
The Western Regional Health Authority vaccination stations in St James on Wednesday.
The Western Regional Health Authority vaccination stations in St James on Wednesday.
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WESTERN BUREAU:

Wednesday’s first day of COVID-19 vaccination in St James saw health workers coming out in droves to receive their first jab of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which they hope will protect them against the deadly virus.

According to Lennox Wallace who heads the St James Public Health Services, preparations were made to vaccinate some 190 public health workers, and much to his delight, the response was overwhelming.

“We are doing 60 at this site (Type 5 Health Centre), 100 at Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH) and 30 at the Sandals Inn resort,” said Wallace, who spoke to The Gleaner after he was inoculated at the Type 5 Health Centre in downtown Montego Bay.

“We are oversubscribed already by over 400 persons,” continued Wallace. “My healthcare workers are ready and they are interested. My staff, which is over 500, has expressed interest and I am happy to say that if these professionals have shown that level of interest, then I believe that the general public will do likewise.”

Wallace said that prior to yesterday’s rolling out of the vaccination programme in St James, efforts were made to ensure that health workers were mentally prepared.

“I was prepared mentally by my health education unit along with the medical officer of health. We would have had over five training sessions over Zoom, reaching every single member of staff, so there was no fear whatsoever,” noted Wallace.

“I am feeling normal. I am not having any effects. I feel like I could go to my office and continue the work that the minister has given me to do and to continue to support the staff. Not even a twitch,” Wallace said, in explaining his experience.

According to Wallace, the members of the St James Police Division, the Jamaica Defence Force personnel and members of St James Fire Brigade, and the staff at the St James Municipal Corporation are next in line to be vaccinated.

The parish’s indigents and shut-ins, who are unlikely to be able to travel out from their various locations without assistance, will be supported in getting to the nearest health clinic.

“We have enough vehicles, not just for persons to come here, but for us to go into the community, so we are advising the public, do not worry, we are coming to your community,” said Wallace, in noting that several mass vaccination centres that will be set up across the parish.

“We have three other sites that will be doing mass vaccination. We will go to the Montego Bay Convention Centre, we will be at Jarrett Park and then we will go on to the Catherine Hall Multipurpose Stadium. So the access is being provided so that all persons can be vaccinated,” added Wallace.

In addition to the public-sector workers who were vaccinated yesterday, several pharmacists also got the jab. Pharmacist Jermaine Harris of J&J Pharmacy told The Gleaner that he happily took the vaccine.

“It was a seamless process and I am encouraging everyone else to come out and get the vaccine,” said Harris.

– Albert Ferguson