Pfizer relief, but disorganisation irks publicTuesday, November 02, 2021
BY KASEY WILLIAMS
MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Scores of people who turned up for their second dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after waiting over a month to be fully vaccinated were yesterday upset with the slow pace at Mandeville Regional Hospital.
There were also complaints about perceived disorganisation and mixed messages from organisers.
One man told the Jamaica Observer that, even though he made online appointments for his two children, he had to contend with a numbering system at the site.
Children aged 12 and over and adults, who should have had their second doses in late September, had to wait because of the delay in the arrival of Pfizer vaccines.
Yesterday, preliminary figures from the Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) showed that more than 3,300 people got their Pfizer second dose in Clarendon, Manchester, and St Elizabeth.
SRHA Director Michael Bent said administering of other vaccines continued yesterday.
“Persons who had their appointment for AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson turned up as well. We were able to administer all the three sets of vaccines, so there was no overrun of any of the facilities,” he said.
A woman, who asked not to be named and who had accompanied her son and daughter – both age 14 – told the Observer that the vaccination programme was disorganised at the site.
“They have been waiting since September 26 for the second dose. The administering of the vaccine was better at Manchester High School; we would have got through already. All now dem number nuh call yet. This is just not organised. I need them to be in face-to-face school. The children sometimes don't have access to the school content online and the Internet access is a problem,” she said.
People who had made appointments via the Ministry of Health and Wellness website were angry at lengthy delays at the vaccination site, while others were told to return tomorrow by a security guard, who was assigned to issue numbers.
Bent said that those who made an appointment for their second dose should not be turned away.
“Earlier in the morning you might have had crowding, but that was sorted out quickly,” he said.
A health official, in addressing those who had been waiting, advised that there was another vaccination site at Northern Caribbean University (NCU).
“We are short on staff, so things are moving a bit slower. Today we are having two sites in Manchester. We are at NCU presently, so I just called up there and things are very slow in terms of the turnout, so if you are mobile or you can go [there],” the official said.
A 56-year-old man, who asked not to be named, was relieved that he was about to be fully vaccinated.
“I was to get the second dose on September 27. Luckily, I didn't have any plans to leave the country during the extended wait. It brings a great relief now to get it [Pfizer] because I can put my plans in place to go overseas now,” he said.
At the same time, he said there needs to be better organisation at vaccination sites as it affects productivity.
“I think COVID has slowed down the whole production and economy, so if you put somebody outside dem work fi three hours you are creating a problem. You need to get people in for short times, observe them, and send them out,” he said.
At NCU the vaccination exercise ran smoothly.
Twenty-two-year-old Javanique Darby was grateful to be fully vaccinated after waiting for her second dose.
“I was to get it on September 26, so I waited five more weeks, but I didn't wait long today. I didn't have any side effects after the first dose, so the nurse [who administered the vaccine] was saying I may have some this time around,” she said.
Danzel Gracey, who accompanied his 12-year-old daughter and 17-year-old son, questioned the organisation of the vaccination programme.
“We did an online application on Friday and it gave us a 10 o'clock appointment here. It said we should be here from 15 minutes before; we have been here all morning and they saying they don't go by appointment, they go by number here because Mandeville is different, which I don't understand,” he said.
“After going through all the steps and now they are telling us that you can't get the first shot, it is only the second dose. I don't understand how they allowed them to do it online. I take them out of school now and I leave work to bring them, and we are being told they can't get the first shot,” he complained.
“Each time they say they are having vaccination, the sites keep changing and I can't understand why,” he went on.
Bent is advising people to wait until they are advised to make their appointment for first doses of the Pfizer vaccine.
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