Vaccine drive-thrus major success as turnout skyrockets

A resounding turnout at both East Bank and East Coast Demerara locations for the Health Ministry’s COVID-19 vaccine drive-thru events have set the tempo to coordinate such events in the future.
This weekend, the exercise continues at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence, on the East Bank of Demerara while MovieTowne on the East Coast of Demerara is the newest drive-thru location. At both locations, first dose AstraZeneca and Sputnik V along with second dose AstraZeneca and Sinopharm were administered.
Over at the MovieTowne parking lot on Saturday, a significant number of persons showed up to receive their first and second doses of the vaccines. Communications Manager at the Georgetown Public Hospital Cheulana Providence told this publication that the consideration is open to make this a permanent location, after witnessing the demand.
“Quite like what we did at Providence a few weeks ago, we decided to replicate the activity here at MovieTowne and we have had quite an outstanding response. Since we started at nine this morning, we had a constant flow of persons coming in to get vaccinated. Based on the response that we have gotten today, I think we do anticipate that this will be a more permanent arrangement for us going forward because we had a pretty overwhelming response,” Providence underscored.
Private Sector companies also came on board to offer incentives to those who got their shots, as part of secondary efforts to attract people and move the country closer to her immunity.
“People are really excited about that. We’ve had Sol Guyana, DeSinco and MovieTowne give out prizes and giveaways to persons as they come. We had a few other companies as well and we’re looking forward to continuing those partnerships and doing more initiatives like these to get people to come out and get vaccinated,” she added.
At the Guyana National Stadium, there was a similar response, attracting people from both Regions Three (Essequibo Islands-West Demerara) and Four (Demerara-Mahaica).
Maternal and Child Health Officer, Dr Oneka Scott explained that there were vehicles waiting even before the sites opened. She cautioned that with increased deaths and new cases every day, the Ministry is exploring new ways of enabling easier access and efficiency in getting the jabs.
“What’s important to remember as well is that we do have, unfortunately in Guyana, a high death rate from COVID-19. It’s increasing. In order for us to get those numbers down, this is what we have to do. Make vaccinations accessible, convenient, increase the opportunities for persons to get vaccinated. This is what the drive-thru is all about. The first one was a hit, the other one was a bigger smash and we know we will have fun working this weekend at both locations.”
Rita Lakeram, who received her second shot at the Providence site, told Guyana Times that she was extremely pleased with the orderly process and trained health workers.
“It was very comfortable. I’m impressed and very delighted with the friendly staff. This was my second dose of the AstraZeneca and I encourage everyone to come out and get their jab,” the woman shared.
Meanwhile, Nazrene Roopnarine shared, “The process was very good. It’s convenient and nice. I encourage everyone to come and take the COVID-19 vaccine because it’s very good. This is my second shot and I feel great.”
In the previous drive-thru event hosted at the stadium, over 1000 persons received vaccines each day. In Guyana, over 216,000 persons have received their first dose while over 81,000 are completely immunised.
A few days ago, Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony stressed, “Persons who have been fully vaccinated, we have not seen them coming to the hospital. We have not seen them coming to the ICU, and we have not had a single COVID-19 death of persons who have been fully vaccinated. I think this is an incentive to get people to come out and get their vaccinations.”
The vaccine drive-thru will be operational today from 09:00h to 16:00h at the MovieTowne parking lot and at the National Stadium at Providence from 09:00h to 18:00h. (G12)