Covid-19 - National vaccination campaign continues with health workers | 12 January 2021
Health care employees in Seychelles were yesterday next in line to receive the first dose of the Sinopharm Covid-19 vaccine, following in the footsteps of political leaders and dignitaries who on Sunday kicked off the accelerated national immunisation campaign.
Numerous staff occupying various positions within both public and private medical and health facilities turned up to one of the specially established vaccination centres, namely, at the Seychelles Hospital Green and Red Roof buildings, the International Conference Centre of Seychelles, Anse Royale Hospital and Baie St Anne Praslin Hospital, to be among the 25,000 Seychellois who are to be administered the vaccine during the first leg of the vaccination campaign.
By 1pm, most centres were ready to start receiving and vaccinating the medical staff, all the while following a strict procedure, starting off with filling out registration forms and infection and prevention control documentation. From registration, clients progressed on to the health education section whereby they were given extensive information that is currently known about the specific type of vaccine and its efficacy, as well as health guidelines relating to the 28-day period before the second dose of the jab is administered.
After signing the consent and vaccination forms within the Counselling section, clients received their vaccines, and were kept under observation for the specified 30-minute period in case of any serious adverse events, with emergency supplies and professionals on board to attend to any such eventualities.
It must be noted that upon receiving the vaccine, clients were required to stop by the documentation section to allow for their personal information to be recorded on a Ministry of Health centralised database, to facilitate the monitoring of vaccine stocks, and act as a record as to who has been vaccinated and when they should receive the second-dose. It is at this station that clients are given an appointment slip to return for the second dosage 28-days after receiving the first jab.
Seychelles Hospital centres
Vaccination at the Seychelles Hospital centres kicked off just after 1pm with no major delays, and flowed fairly well throughout the afternoon, up to the 6pm cut-off line.
To facilitate the process and cater to the large group of health care workers who are expected to be vaccinated at the hospital, the lower level of the Yellow Roof building is closed off to the public, as well as the lower level of the Green Roof building, and is expected to remain closed throughout the campaign until January 17, the deadline by which health care workers have been encouraged to have their jabs.
Senior physiotherapist with the Ministry of Health, Anthony Soomery, was among the first to get the jab at the Yellow Roof building, shortly after opening its doors yesterday afternoon.
“It is working well. I am usually afraid of needles but I am on the frontline and I see a lot of patients every day, on the hospital wards, so I decided to get vaccinated. I usually see chest physio patients and even though I do not like needles I am doing it because it is important for us to protect ourselves, as well as the other people around us,” he said.
Senior staff nurse Amelie Richmond said they were expecting around 100 clients at the station just through yesterday afternoon, although they were prepared to receive and vaccinate more persons. By around 2.30pm yesterday afternoon, she was satisfied with how the process was flowing, and the cooperation of the health workers on duty to administer the vaccines, as well as the clients turning up for the process.
By 1pm, the first of the hopeful clients had already started forming a line in the outside waiting area, patiently awaiting their turn for the jab at the ICCS vaccination centre. The special centre will over the next few days receive staff hailing from facilities within the northern and central regions of Mahé.
Following a minor delay in setting up the premises, the centre opened its doors just before 2pm to receive the waiting workers. As with the other stations, the setting in the make-shift vaccination centre is standard comprising the various stations and same process in registering, counselling and administering the vaccine, all manned by the ten health professionals.
Nursing assistant Angela Bastienne is encouraging all citizens who are eligible to take the vaccine to do so.
“I am here today because I think it is important for us to protect ourselves, our community and country. We were lucky that the pandemic was not as bad as other countries to start with here, but we have seen with time, recently and we are still seeing, how this virus is not slowing down or stopping. Instead it is worsening so the earlier we can do something to protect our people, it is good,” she said.
“My message to others is to get the vaccine if they can, as a measure of prevention. We always say prevention is better than cure and now we have the opportunity to prevent the virus from spreading even further,” a hopeful Ms Bastienne said.
The vaccination centres are to open full-day as of today and can cater up to 1000 vaccinations daily. Once the leg of vaccines for health care workers is completed, essential workers are next in line for the United Arab Emirates (UAE) donated jabs, followed by other priority groups within the population in line with guidance of the National Immunization Technical Advisory Group (NITAG).
In the coming weeks, more special vaccination centres are to be set up around the islands to facilitate the vaccination of those eligible within the larger population.
Baie St Anne Praslin
On Praslin, the session started at around 2pm and within the first hour a total of 21 health care workers had been vaccinated.
The medical team on the island comprised four staff from Mahé and a doctor, newly qualified nurse and nurse student from Praslin.
Marie-Helene Niole, nurse coordinator of the team on Praslin, shared her satisfaction with the turnout which was above their expectations.
“We did not expect such a good turnout today as Praslin is currently very short of staff. A few of them are in isolation and several have tested positive for Covid-19 so we are very surprised of the good turnout but are thankful to those who came.”
More health care workers are scheduled to be vaccinated tomorrow as this is being done in 2 batches in case of adverse effects. Individuals from other essential services will also be vaccinated within the next 2 days. The team will be on Praslin until Wednesday and will then move to La Digue from Thursday to Saturday.
The accompanying photographs show some highlights at the various vaccination centres on Mahé and Praslin yesterday.
Laura Pillay and Romano Laurence
Photos by Anel Robert & Romano laurence