High vaccination take-up in St AnnThursday, August 05, 2021
BY AKERA DAVIS
OCHO RIOS, St Ann — Unlike some parts of the island, the latest vaccination drive in St Ann has gone better than expected in many communities.
“With each day there are more persons than those who would have made appointments. In St Ann's Bay we had 300 appointments for Tuesday and 600 persons turned out,” parish manager of the St Ann Health Department Nadia Nunes told the Jamaica Observer yesterday. “There was a 150 per cent turnout in Alexandria and in St Ann's Bay.”
During a visit to the Ocho Rios Health Centre on Wednesday afternoon, several people were seen standing in lines, others under tents patiently waiting for their jabs.
A first-timer, 57-year-old Desmond Balfour revealed that he had been reluctant to take his shot based on what he now believes are myths being circulated about the vaccine.
“I had doubts about taking the vaccine because they say all sort of stuff like it damage organs and give blood clots. But I'm yet to meet anyone with any issues so I decided to take my chances,” said Balfour.
Another 68-year-old resident of Pineapple, Ocho Rios, decided to take her shot on seeing that her relatives were fine after taking double doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
“My mother who is 91 and my two cousins over 70 took it. I see that they are fine [so] I decided I have to take it. I know that I will be fine too and I want everyone to take up their vaccines because it is the only way I see out right now,” she told the Observer.
Coronavirus cases have spiked in recent weeks, prompting the Government to tighten COVID-19 curbing measures. The as-yet unconfirmed fear is that the highly contagious Delta variant may be causing the spike, fuelled by less than strict adherence to the safety protocols. Younger people are among those being infected in this latest spike.
Joseph Butler, 29, who received his second dose of the AstraZeneca in June, on Wednesday explained that being vaccinated is important to him.
“I've gotten quite a few vaccines over the years and they have protected me from a lot of stuff, so I know it's something I need,” he said. “Persons should definitely get their doses because it's not going to kill us. The Delta variant is now out [and it] is much [more] dangerous so it's better to have a little protection than none.”
He added that he hardly experienced any symptoms after his first dose.
“I got only a little tenderness at the site, and that was it. My mother took it also and she is fine,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr Patrick Wheatley, regional technical director of the North East Regional Health Authority, says he hopes the take-up rate will increase even more during upcoming blitzes as COVID-19 cases have increased in the garden parish.
“We made a projection [for the region] that we have not achieved so we are expecting more persons to turn out. The vaccine will not just save your life but [the lives of] your loved ones and the persons around you,” he said. “We are enhancing our vaccination response to get what we call herd immunity,” he said.
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