Covid-19 vaccines: 'Everyone should get it done'
Two men in their 80s today were yesterday the first public recipients of the Covid-19 vaccine.
Robert Gibbons and Horace Rollins got their jabs at a special vaccination centre in Devonshire - and said they were delighted by the process.
Dr Gibbons, 84, a dentist, said: "I have given thousands of these but not in the arm."
He added: "It feels pretty good. A slight stinging, there's nothing to it."
Dr Gibbons and Mr Rollins were the first of about 4,500 people to get the vaccines.
The vaccines arrived last Friday and the administration of the jabs started today.
Dr Gibbons’ wife Dorothy, 77, also received the vaccine along with Mr Rollins, 86.
He said: "I think it is essential that we protect the community – everyone should be vaccinated."
But Dr Gibbons said that the vaccine should be voluntary.
He added he agreed to get his injection in public as "it was a good way to promote it".
Dr Gibbons said: "I feel fine. There's nothing to it. It's absolutely painless."
Ms Gibbons added: "It was fine and the nurses were so supportive - we were treated excellently.
"There was a little confusion when we first arrived and we were told to wait outside for about ten minutes – it wasn’t a long wait.
“I think it's because we were the first and people are getting used to the process.
"We are lucky to have it all done so well."
Mr Rollins said after the jab: "I feel normal, no different. I did not expect all the news media there, but I'm glad to encourage people to get it done."
Hospital staff and healthcare workers also started to get their Covid-19 vaccinations today at a separate vaccination centre at the King Edward VII Memorial Hospital.
Michael Ashton, the Bermuda Hospital’s Board Chief of Medicine, was one of the first two people to receive the vaccination at the KEMH.
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 hoped that everyone who could have the vaccine should come forward.
Dr Ashton emphasised: “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.”
Frontline health workers, essential workers such as police and prison officers, officers, elderly people in rest homes and those in long term care units were also due to receive the first round of vaccines.
BHB staff said yesterday there was a “buzz” about the vaccine among healthcare professionals and the first two days of appointments filled up fast.
A spokeswoman said that more than 100 healthcare workers were expected to be vaccinated by the end of the day.
As of yesterday, 650 BHB staff had signed up for the vaccines.
Four booths were set up in a second-floor room of the hospital, with appointments scheduled every 15 minutes for each.
Darnett Kellman, a community care worker, said that she was scared of needles but happy to be among the first to get the shot.
She added: “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.
She added: “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.”
Judy Richardson, the Chief of Nursing and the Covid-19 vaccination head 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 has risen to twelve.
“We now have access to the best protection possible against Covid-19 available...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 vaccines from the UK arrived on Friday – enough to vaccinate almost 5,000 people.