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Covid-19: Hospital staff receive first vaccines

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Hospital vaccinations: Dr Michael Ashton after receiving the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine from registered nurse Kate Andrews (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

Hospital staff and healthcare workers began receiving their Covid-19 vaccinations this morning at King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.

BHB staff said this morning there was a “buzz” about the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine among healthcare professionals and the first two days of appointments was rapidly filled.

A spokeswoman said that more than 100 healthcare workers were expected to be vaccinated by the end of the day (MON).

Four booths have been established in a second-floor room of the hospital, with appointments set to take place every 15 minutes in each.

Darnett Kellman, a community care worker, said that she was afraid of needles but happy to be among the first to receive the shot.

She said: “It was the best needle I ever had. I’m terrified of needles but I didn’t feel that at all.

“I guess that’s because I have been anxious about getting the vaccine, and it is such a relief.”

Ms Kellman said that as a healthcare worker it was important to get the vaccine, but she also wanted to inspire others to get the shot.

She said: “There have been so many deaths worldwide and I feel that one person can make a difference to reduce the spread of the virus.

“I encourage all to get it. Study the science, get factual information and do the right thing.”

Michael Ashton, the BHB Chief of Medicine and a specialist in the field of infection diseases, also received his vaccination this morning at KEMH, as did emergency department nurse Martin Maurais.

Dr Ashton said: “I just feel very grateful, and it’s also a relief. It has been a long time coming for a lot of us.

“We have been watching, we have been keenly waiting and we know that this is the next phase in terms of moving on and being safer during the pandemic.”

He said he hopes that those who have the opportunity to have the vaccine considers it.

He said: “There are very few contraindications – mainly they are around hypersensitivity reactions related to the ingredients in the vaccine.

“Otherwise all others should consider this vaccine.”

Judy Richardson, Chief of Nursing and Covid-19 Vaccination lead at BHB, said it was a historic day in the island’s fight against the pandemic.

She said: “The timing is critical – two weeks on from Christmas, our hospitalisation numbers are increasing and the numbers of deaths have risen to 12.

“We now have access to the best protection possible against Covid-19 available, however, a vaccine that is proven to be safe and prevents 95 per cent of Covid-19.

“It has not been an easy start to 2021, but with this vaccination we can look forward with real hope.”

A total of 9,750 Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines arrived on Friday – enough to vaccinate almost 5,000 people – and administration began today.

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Published January 11, 2021 at 12:50 pm (Updated January 11, 2021 at 6:24 pm)

Covid-19: Hospital staff receive first vaccines

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