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Mass immunization got going at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) this morning with nurses hailing it as a necessary act to save lives.
The healthcare workers received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine while those stationed at the Harrison’s Point Isolation Facility in St Lucy got theirs on Thursday,
Registered Nurse Ayeisha Brathwaite told Barbados TODAY she has been willing and ready to be among the first to be vaccinated at the QEH’s auditorium because of its importance to saving lives.
Brathwaite, who is attached to the Accident and Emergency department, said since the beginning of the pandemic last year, she has been following the progress as it relates to the development of the various vaccines. Brathwaite said it is critical that healthcare workers receive the vaccine to help reduce the numbers of those falling ill among them.
“As I am one of the persons who takes care of patients with COVID on a day-to-day basis, I have watched my colleagues and patients have to suffer from COVID. And if there is something that can significantly reduce the risk of me having the worst side effects I am going to take that, we need to flatten the curve,” Brathwaite said.
The registered nurse said while she was aware that there were anti-vaxxers among the general population, it is important that healthcare workers lead the way in showing Barbadians that it is necessary to take the vaccine.
“Every person that dies, it hurts me. And it isn’t even only about us having the severe effects, it is about transmitting it to people who are ill and that is something that we really need to get over. I am advising my colleagues, all the persons out there to come to get your vaccine. I had mine. I don’t have any side effects.
“So come on and get yours and let’s help this nation because it is significant. I work where people are dying and people have to die alone. So come let’s get most of the population vaccinated because that’s the only way that we can get some level of herd immunity and reduce the number of persons that are quite ill,” Brathwaite said.
Dr Rawle Springer, a consultant in A&E, described receiving his stick as smooth and painless. Dr Springer said he did not feel a burning sensation after the jab and concluded that “it was like nothing happened”. The doctor said all persons in the medical field need to be vaccinated.
“Honestly, the way the vaccine works, you don’t fully get protection until two weeks after the second dose so you still have to use all your precautions. So you’re sanitizing, you’re social distancing, you’re wearing your mask and that still has to continue. But certainly, it is the first step on the road to being fully safe. I don’t think that there is anything to worry about the safety of the vaccine and I would recommend it to all those persons who are eligible to get it,” Dr Springer said.
Consultant radiation oncologist, Dr Radhakanth Kudpi Shenoy said it was also a smooth experience for him and one that left him feeling pleased. He is looking forward to receiving his second dose in the coming weeks. Dr Shenoy said patients have been asking for his advice on whether they should take the vaccination and he has been advising them to go ahead.
“We do not want to suffer from COVID. We want to protect against COVID,” Dr Shenoy said.
Head of the Accident and Emergency department, Dr Joanne Bradford King has encouraged all of the staff of the department to take the vaccine.
“I had the vaccine this morning. I feel fine. I just feel a little bit of soreness in my arm but that is expected. I took some panadol just before to cover for that kind of eventuality. It was a fairly easy process. I did not feel anything with the stick and I would encourage persons to go and get vaccinated, especially my colleagues,” Dr Bradford King said.