WRHA boss takes first vaccine jab out west
On a day when the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA) COVID-19 cases breached the 6,000 mark, Errol Greene, the authority’s regional director, led the way as medical personnel in western Jamaica got their shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
At last count on Tuesday, the region had recorded 190 new COVID-19 cases. St James recorded 57 to move up to 3,085 cases; Trelawny had 53 cases, which pushed them up to 1,012; while Westmoreland had 36, which increased their count to 1,115; and Hanover had 44, moving their tally to 782.
“I was privileged to be the first person in the region to take the vaccine,” said Greene, after receiving his jab at the Cornwall Regional Hospital (CRH). “I am encouraged by the level of support given so far to the project.
“We are encouraging all the other healthcare workers and all the other residents in western Jamaica to take the vaccine,” added Greene, before returning to the observation room.
Front-line workers are among the first set of people who are being vaccinated against the dreaded COVID-19 virus. The first 50,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines arrived on the island on Monday, which sparked the ongoing vaccination campaign.
Dr Derrick Harvey, senior medical officer of health at CRH, who also received his first vaccination shot yesterday, is hoping that the number of hospitalisations will be reduced significantly, now that people are being vaccinated against the virus.
“We are very proud that we have started our vaccination programme,” said Harvey, moments before taking the coronavirus jab. “What we are hoping is that we will see a decrease in this (COVID-19 cases) and less strain on the hospital services.”
Meanwhile, Shellomie Golding, an emergency nurse at the accident and emergency ward at CRH, was extremely happy to be numbered among those vaccinated on the first day of the programme.“Yes! Yes! Jamaica is moving forward. I am happy that the vaccine is here,” said Golding.
“I am happy that I was able to be the second person to get the vaccine,” continued Golding. “I don’t feel anyway. I am encouraging everyone to come out and take the vaccine. I am not having any pain. Actually, I am going back to work now after taking the vaccine.
“I would encourage everyone to take the vaccine because there are persons that are at higher risk than me. Come out and take the vaccine so that we can eradicate the virus and get back to life without COVID,” urged Golding.
Gillian Ledgister, director of nursing services at the CRH, said the nursing staff at CRH was fully on board with the vaccination programme, unlike some other health professionals who have been expressing reservations.
“Certainly, the nursing staff at this hospital are on board as it relates to the vaccination programme. We are part of our team which will be vaccinated today along with other senior persons,” said Ledgister, while noting that there will always be reservations in the minds of some persons.
Marceleen Wheatley, regional health promotion and education officer at the WRHA, admitted that there might be some side effects from taking the vaccine.“They may include tenderness to the area … a little swelling, fever for some persons, but this is one way of the body showing that it is responding effectively to the vaccine,” explained Wheatley.
She said for those who have received the vaccine and are not feeling well after, they should immediately contact their nearest hospital or the emergency operating centre.
“Having taken your vaccine, we are encouraging you to continue wearing your mask, remain socially distant and ensure that you sanitise your hands,” urged Wheatley.