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‘There’S Nothing To Worry About’: Medical Staff Lead The Way And Urge Others To Follow

Dr Caroline Burnett-Garaway gives a thumbs up signal as she is vaccinated at yesterday’s session at Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Racardo Thomas

Dr Caroline Burnett-Garaway gives a thumbs up signal as she is vaccinated at yesterday’s session at Princess Margaret Hospital. Photo: Racardo Thomas

Vaccine Rollout

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PHA Managing Director Catherine Weech.

By LEANDRA ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

lrolle@tribunemedia.net

MORE than 60 healthcare workers and senior executives from the Public Hospitals Authority received their first shots of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at Princess Margaret Hospital yesterday, marking the official rollout of the country’s vaccination campaign against the deadly coronavirus.

This comes just over a week after the nation received 20,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Indian government. 

Yesterday’s vaccination session also follows the inoculations of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, Health Minister Renward Wells and other officials, who were among the nation’s first to receive the injections as a part of a pilot phase conducted at Loyola Hall on Sunday. More than 100 people took part in that pilot. 

PMH coordinator for patient registration and scheduling, Angelica Lockhart-Bastian told The Tribune yesterday morning that 50 healthcare workers and other hospital staff were expected to participate in yesterday’s vaccination process at PMH. However, a PHA official later confirmed to this newspaper that a total of 61 workers had actually received their first injections of the two-dose vaccine yesterday, a situation the official stressed was not because of low interest.

It is not clear when Grand Bahama will begin vaccinations. Other vaccination sites on New Providence will begin operations later this week. Asked how many frontline workers had been registered to date, Mrs Lockhart-Bastian was unable to say.

However, she said 170 people from various health departments, including PHA and Emergency Medical Services, had “expressed interest” to PMH on receiving the vaccines ahead of yesterday’s vaccination process.

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PHA Deputy Director Lyrone Burrows.

Given the website to register to be vaccinated did not go live until Tuesday afternoon officials are happy with the numbers who instantly applied and were given the available times to come in to be vaccinated.

As days progress and other sites open the numbers should ramp up for those wanting to take the vaccine.

According to PMH Medical Chief of Staff Dr Caroline Burnett-Garraway  a survey conducted by officials several months ago found that about 40 percent of healthcare workers at the facility wanted to be vaccinated. 

Dr Burnett-Garraway spoke to reporters after getting vaccinated. She was the first person in the medical group to be inoculated yesterday morning.

Describing the moment as “exciting,” Dr Burnett-Garraway said she wanted to help lead the way forward and also encouraged others to take the vaccine when the opportunity becomes available.

“I feel privileged and relieved and I just wanted to set the example because people are reluctant, not sure and they’re waiting to see and (I just wanted) to set the example that it’s safe and that we should all take it,” she said.

“The benefits of taking this vaccine outweighs the chance of getting a little (blood) clot so I encourage everyone when your time comes, please get it and protect yourselves.”

PHA Managing Director Catherine Weech and Deputy Director Lyrone Burrows were also among those who received the vaccine at PMH.

Mr Burrows was in good spirits after his first shot.

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Chief telephonist at PMH Marina Laing.

Saying he believed the country’s vaccination campaign was off to a good start so far, Mr Burrows told reporters that officials are hoping to see an uptick in numbers in the days ahead.

“We’re hopeful that those persons who have booked their appointment do show up. We came off with a very good start and we anticipate that that will continue to accelerate in the days and weeks to come,” he noted.

He also said: “Based on the logistics, we anticipate that we will have more than sufficient time to be able to distribute those vaccine and that we will have no challenges in terms of any wastage.”

PMH Administrator Mary Walker also commented on the national vaccination process yesterday, telling reporters that officials anticipate that the local hospital can vaccinate up to a minimum of 120 workers a day.

She told reporters: “We know that our total staff complement here at Princess Margaret Hospital is somewhere in the region of 1,800 but we also have the responsibility of vaccinating the EMS services as well as out supply management chain persons and the corporate office so that takes us over about 2,000 plus persons.

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Canon Sebastian Campbell.

“A percentage of that we anticipate to want to be immunised in this first wave. We looked at the appointment system when we had the trial on Sunday and we realised just how many people we could do in a given hour and as we planned out those appointment systems, we figured here—working efficiently—we can at minimum do 120 a day...it’s been a smooth process so far and everyone who has registered this morning has presented themselves in their appointment schedule time and they are being served.”

Chief telephonist at PMH Marina Laing also received her first vaccine shot yesterday which she hopes will allow her life to return to some normalcy. Mrs Laing said she has not been able to see her son or father for about a year due to the pandemic. 

“I decided to get vaccinated because I have underlying issues and I would really love to travel,” she said. “I want to bring some normalcy in my life – visiting family members, especially my dad, he’s 88-years-old and I need to be around him to take care of him. I have a son in the United States. I would like to visit him so that is my reason to be vaccinated.”

Earlier this week, Dr Minnis said the country is “turning the corner” in the fight against COVID-19, adding that he feels confident that the majority of citizens will receive the vaccine.

This comes at a time when the AstraZeneca shots are being temporarily suspended in several European countries – including Germany, France, Italy and Spain – out of fears people who received it have had blood clots.

Officials from the European Medicines Agency and the World Health Organisation have since defended the shot as safe, insisting that no direct link between blood clot symptoms and the vaccine has been established.

On Tuesday, Health Minister Renward Wells told reporters that if any Bahamian were to experience negative post vaccination side effects, the government will respond “immediately.”

Governor General Cornelius Smith is expected to receive his first shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at 8.30 am today. Meanwhile, former Health Minister Dr Duane Sands has booked his vaccine appointment for Friday, The Tribune can confirm.

An official said after yesterday’s exercise, PMH received more inquiries from interested people about getting the vaccine. 

Comments

happyfly 4 weeks, 1 day ago

"This comes at a time when the AstraZeneca shots are being temporarily suspended in several European countries – including Germany, France, Italy and Spain – out of fears people who received it have had blood clots"

Nothing to worry about ??

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jus2cents 4 weeks, 1 day ago

And the WHO said the AZ vaccine is no more dangerous than any other vaccine, it's all about Brexit politricks and because the AZ vaccine is the cheapest & or given for free in some jurisdictions, so big Pharma isn't making as much money. They told the whole story on BBC America.

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Proguing 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Ok so if the WHO and BBC said it it must be true?

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OMG 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Get your facts right.1 Yes its political because the EU has made a total cock up of the vaccination programme, dithering until supplies had been allocated toforward planning countries such as the UK. Secondly this blood clot scare is absolute nonsense. 62% of orthopedic patients will experience a blood clot in hospital.The birth control pill is proven to cause blood clots in some women. Long Haul airline passengers per thousand have an increased incidence of blood clots. On any given day out of millions of adults hundreds will suffer from a blood clot. The AZ vaccine has experienced less cases of clots than a thousand adults in normal day tp day life. Just note how the EU is now changing its advice but the damage to public confidence is lasting.

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tribanon 4 weeks, 1 day ago

But you're happy you're not swallowing the BS propaganda being spread by media agents of the giant AstraZeneca pharma corporation with help from the ChiCom controlled W.H.O. LMAO

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Bobsyeruncle 4 weeks, 1 day ago

But your happy to swallow the negative BS propaganda spread by media agents.

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tribanon 4 weeks ago

I hear the ChiCom and Big Pharma friendly Biden White House is now pressuring the FDA to approve the use of the AstraZeneca vaccine in the US. Not good.

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Bobsyeruncle 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Netherlands, Latvia, Lithuania, Cyprus & Bulgaria are resuming use of the Oxford-AZ vaccine, so I guess their health & medical experts have decided it really is nothing to worry about.

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K4C 4 weeks, 1 day ago

395,000 is the population of the Bahamas, and 20,000 doses of the vaccine that requires 2 doses for maximum benefit is NOTHING to CROW about

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Sickened 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Vaccine /ˈvaksiːn,ˈvaksɪn/ noun noun: vaccine; plural noun: vaccines a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity against one or several diseases, prepared from the causative agent of a disease, its products, or a synthetic substitute, treated to act as an antigen without inducing the disease.

We need to stop calling these things vaccines - THEY ARE NOT! They are merely medicines to decrease the severe effects of the virus. You can still get sick, but the chances of dying, or getting severely ill, go from 'really incredibly small' to 'really, really incredibly small'.

Is it worth it? Everyone must make that judgement in consultation with their doctor.

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tetelestai 4 weeks, 1 day ago

If you want to be that pedantic, then technically there is no "vaccine" - per your definition - in the world. Even the flu, small pox, MMR vaccines do not provide "immunity", which, by your definition seems to imply 100% total and lifelong protection from the disease.
No need to make outlandish and specious pronouncements.

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tribanon 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Readers should also try gain an understanding of what lab created messenger RNA (mRNA) is all about and the inherent dangers associated with artificially induced changes to one's genetic material.

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Bobsyeruncle 4 weeks, 1 day ago

I think you should take some of your own advice, and learn what mRNA is all about. It does not change ones own genetic material

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tribanon 4 weeks ago

These warp speed developed vaccines most certainly do change what one's genetic material does by way of man-made (lab created) coded instructions, i.e. mRNA. And the evil ChiComs are even experimenting with ways in which mRNA coded instructions and other genetic tinkerings may be used to create an army of superior soldiers with super-human like capabilities.

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OMG 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Wrong, they are a vacine the same as a flue shot or polio. I suggest the discomfort that very few experience after being vaccinated or the worst case hospitilisation and possible death makes this a sensible choice.

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tribanon 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Nonsense. Not the same as a flu or polio vaccine. You clearly need to do your homework on mRNA vaccines as compared to the more traditional types of vaccines you speak of.

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Bobsyeruncle 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Not nonsense at all. Both the Pfizer & Moderna vaccines do exactly as "Sickened" posted i.e. "vaccines a substance used to stimulate the production of antibodies and provide immunity". They just stimulate the production of antibodies in different way. Analgesics (painkillers) provide relief from pain by acting in different ways on the Central Nervous System, but they are still all analgesics by definition.

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tribanon 4 weeks ago

Using warp speed developed mRNA instructions to directly tinker with the coding of one's genetic material in order to, as you say, "stimulate the production of antibodies", is very much prone to all sorts of unintended consequences, not to mention outright abuses by those who may have evil intentions.

There's a big difference between using a traditional controlled harmful agent vaccine to trigger a natural immunological response as compared to directly tinkering with the coding of one's genetic material via mRNA instructions to achieve immunity.

Nature is allowed to play its natural role in the development of an immune response to traditional vaccines for flu, polio, etc., but this is certainly not the case of these new warp speed developed mRNA vaccines. To suggest there's no difference between the two is like saying there's no difference night and day, which is of course true if you happen to be blind.

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TalRussell 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Really, where is the thumbs up science behind why, PMH's Deputy Director Comrade Lyrone and Managing Director Catherine, got to jump to the front vaccine line but not one of the realm's 80+ year-olds? There must be calls for a Royal Commission to take stab at this cue-jumpin. Yes?

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newcitizen 4 weeks, 1 day ago

There's nothing to worry about because they don't even have vaccines for over 80% of the population. Why has the government not tried to secure a purchase agreement with any of the manufacturers? Biden is talking about sending US made AZ vaccines to Canada and Mexico, has our government tried to get in on that? All this vaccine debate is useless if we don't have a supply of vaccines to administer. This country is losing more per day in revenue then the cost of vaccinating the entire populace.

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GodSpeed 4 weeks, 1 day ago

No thanks, also please post updates on these people. Especially after the 2nd dose.

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shonkai 4 weeks, 1 day ago

Amazing, even the telephonist gets the shot already, because she loves to travel. And the bookkeeper gets it because he loves to party? What in hecks name are the criteria here at PMH?

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shonkai 4 weeks, 1 day ago

In other countries ("real" countries) people get fired and scandalized because they jump the queue, even 69 year olds coz they said they were 70 and went a week early. And here it is some sort of friends-and-relatives party. If you are close to the fire you get to warm yourself sooner, and I don't mean the virus-fire.

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shonkai 4 weeks, 1 day ago

250,000 persons to vaccinate, at 120? Good, so it will only take a little over 2000 days. Oh, no, they all have to be done twice. :D

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