Youngsters flock vaccination sites for COVID-19 shots

…endorse efforts by Health Ministry

Just days after the Health Ministry opened COVID-19 vaccination for the entire adult population, youth across the country turned up in their numbers to get inoculated and welcomed this move.
Guyana Times visited a few vaccination sites in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica) on Saturday, where an influx of persons waited for their opportunity to receive the coronavirus jab. With the vaccines Guyana has already acquired and others soon to arrive, the country will be able to fully vaccinate 261,000 persons. The Ministry’s goal is to administer 100,000 first doses by early next week.
Eighteen-year-old Shane Parmesar, a University of Guyana student, labelled this initiative as the only way to exit the pandemic safely, in addition to protecting the population. He took his shot at the Health Ministry’s Brickdam, Georgetown location.
“It was a calm and smooth experience, relatively quick than I anticipated…I advise people to come out and take it and be done with COVID one time.”
Meanwhile, 21-year-old Jermaine Kendall expressed, “Even though the amount of people that you’re seeing, you just wait for about 20 minutes or so, they register you and then you go take your vaccine. After that, you just wait for about 15 minutes and you’re good to go.”
When questioned about his advice for the younger population, the young man declared, “It’s better to be safe than sorry. I would advise other young people to get their vaccine.”
This publication spoke with Ann Defreitas, who took her son to the site for his vaccine. The 57-year-old woman said she took hers three weeks ago, considering it as “the best thing to happen right now”. Defreitas also had strong words for the younger people, whom she noted are actively outdoor and can put their older relatives at risk.
She noted, “I think it’s the best thing right now anybody can do with the pandemic going out of sync. The younger ones are out there doing a set of stuff and they should be the ones to come and get this thing done because they’re taking this home to the older folks. And most of the older ones are going now so they really need to get this done.”
On the East Bank of Demerara, 21-year-old Sohail Singh turned up at the Eccles Health Centre and followed all procedures. Soon, he exited the facility and lauded the smooth process. He was keen to ask questions which were unclear on the vaccines and displayed no symptoms afterwards.
“I got my vaccine. I asked some questions and waited about 15 minutes after. I’m healthy right now. As an individual, I would say that this vaccine will upkeep your body so if it (the virus) does come, then you can withstand it,” the Providence resident indicated.
At the site, Advisor to the Ministry of Culture, Neil Kumar detailed that several officials were busy mobilising people to take the vaccines upon the instruction of Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony. From this, a large crowd responded by visiting the health facility.
“This morning, the Minister called us and told us to mobilise so we sent out a horn to tell people to come out. We brought the tent, chairs, water and masks. The response has been excellent. People are coming out. Very few people knew so after we did the mobilisation, we started seeing people coming out,” the official indicated.
On Thursday, Government announced the widened eligibility requirement for COVID-19 vaccination that allows for persons 18 years and older to get immunised. Guyana commenced its vaccination exercise in February and to date, more than 70,000 persons have received the first of two doses.
As the vaccination rollout continues with almost 100 permanent sites in the 10 regions along with temporary sites in some areas, outreaches are being conducted in communities on a daily basis.
Government has bought some 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine to the tune of $4 billion. Some 24,000 doses were sent through the COVAX mechanism – the first tranche from 100,800 shots. The Government of China and India also donated 20,000 and 80,000 vaccines while Barbados sent 3000. (Rupa Seenaraine)