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Island gears for vaccine roll-out


Island gears for vaccine roll-out
Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand (GP)

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BARBADOS will be READY to roll out the first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine late this month.

Co-cordinator of the National COVID-19 vaccination campaign, Dr Elizabeth Ferdinand, informed the country last night that the first vaccines would arrive later this week.

“We were helping the ministry develop a National COVID-19 Deployment Plan before and on Saturday, we started to refine and develop an operational plan,” the retired physician said during a nationally televised media briefing.

Ferdinand said several special teams would be established, led by senior health sisters from each of the nine polyclinics. She revealed they were hoping to have 30 teams, each with eight or nine people, to handle the roll-out of the vaccine.

Ferdinand added Barbadians should not be overly concerned about talk surrounding whether AstraZeneca was safe for black people.

“The vaccine is suitable for everyone. As far as race, ethnicity or sex is concerned, it is safe for everyone. When we look at the vaccine, trials were done where persons are not white. It has been tested in many ethnic people,” she stressed.

She cautioned, however, that people who were allergic to ingredients of AstraZeneca, or those who had severe allergies, would not be vaccinated.

She also revealed that before the vaccination process is started, a full-scale public education programme will be undertaken to inform Barbadians of the benefits that come with vaccination.

Public Health Sister Rosanette Cooke said Barbados was fully prepared to start roll-out once the vaccine was here.

“The Ministry of Health has a very adequate storage facility for the vaccine and that is monitored every day with regard to temperatures,” she said.

Public health nurses at the polyclinics will be responsible for administering the vaccines when inoculations commence, and they will also be administered at community centres and some schools. (BA)