Region 6, 10 health-care workers take COVID-19 vaccines

Exactly one week after Guyana received 3000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine as a donation from its sister Caricom State Barbados, authorities have started to administer the shots to health-care workers in Regions Six (East Berbice-Corentyne) and 10 (Upper Demerara-Berbice).
Based on reports received, 150 of the vaccines were dispatched to Berbice and were administered to health-care workers on Wednesday.

Doctor-in-charge, Orealla and Siparuta Health Centres, Dr Kester Persaud receiving his vaccine

Of the total, 100 were slated for health-care workers at the New Amsterdam Hospital and the Port Mourant Hospital. The remaining 50 were for those at Skeldon Hospital and Mibicuri Hospital in Black Bush Polder (BBP).
Dr Kester Persaud, one of the frontline workers, explained that more vaccines were expected to be made available to the Region and as such, he was encouraging the public to take the vaccines whenever they became available to them.
One of the first persons to be vaccinated on Wednesday was Dr Lerone Henry of Orealla and Siparuta Health Centres.
According to Dr Henry, he decided to take the vaccine since both villages have been recording high numbers of positive COVID-19 cases in the past three months. “I have to deal with many of those patients, so I thought it best to protect myself with the vaccine,” he explained.
Meanwhile, the health-care workers in Region 10 had theirs administered at the Linden Hospital Complex (LHC) on Tuesday.
LHC Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Rudy Small said the exercise though in its initial stage was well received by health-care workers.

A health-care worker attached to the Linden Hospital Complex taking the vaccine

“I think the exercise was successful, just as it was in Georgetown. The response was good…because it was a voluntary effort, the response was very positive from our staff. So it was frontline – doctors, nurses, people who deal directly with patients. They were given the first opportunity to get the vaccine…it was not mandatory, so we had a lot of volunteers,” the CEO said.
Small added that the institution has since received a lot of calls from residents in the community, especially senior citizens, who are enquiring about the availability of the vaccine.
“…but this exercise, in the first instance, is just for frontline health-care workers. So, as more vaccines arrive in the country, we will then expand to other groups,” the CEO assured.
Small also advised other health-care workers to give taking the vaccine serious thought and consideration amid the pandemic.
“It’s a pandemic, it’s airborne. We don’t know when and where we may be exposed. So it’s always good to get that additional level of protection. It’s free and we would like to encourage, I would strongly encourage all of the frontline health-care workers and all citizens as a matter of fact – once it becomes available, to take it…If you’re dealing with patients on a daily basis, I think you should be vaccinated,” he advised.
Physiotherapist Quacy Paddy was the first to receive the vaccine at the LHC and shared his experience.
“Well, I didn’t expect to be the first. I was just thinking of being vaccinated, because that’s the direction the world is heading and with my line of work, I have to be protected,” he noted.
He also indicated that all Rehabilitation Services Staff at the LHC took the vaccine.
Paddy said soreness at the injection site, low-grade fever and slight back pain were a few of the symptoms he experienced after taking the vaccine.
Nevertheless, he encouraged other health-care workers to come on board and be vaccinated.
“Read correct source of information. Get the proper education about the vaccines from the WHO website, man in the street information is very misleading. As frontline workers, it is your duty to protect yourself, family and patients,” Paddy advised.