Health workers encouraged to take vaccine

Wearing masks, sanitising and social distancing have been the best defense against contracting the coronavirus.

In the last media conference, the Controller of the national pandemic and Commissioner of Police, David Manning, said these COVID-19 prevention measures must be complied with as a roll-out plan is being finalised for the Astra-Zeneca vaccine.

Manning said: “It is pleasing to note a difference in people moving around (with masks).”

He stressed there will be an enforcement element to the isolation strategy nationwide.

“We never have enough ICU beds to cater for critically ill people that have serious symptoms of COVID,” Manning said.

“The best cure is prevention, while vaccination will assist but in short term, it will not stop the current rate that we are experiencing now.”

According to Deputy Incident Manager, Dr Melinda Susapu, COVID-19 reported cases have tripled in the last month, with Gulf now having reported its first case.

This brings the number of provinces with reported cases of COVID-19 to 22.

Dr Susapu said the Gulf case is still being investigated as to how the person contracted the virus.

There have also been mixed responses from the vaccination target group; the health workforce.

Manning said: “There is a need for vaccination and we will continue to weigh out the advantages as opposed to the disadvantages of taking the vaccination.

“It’s in our best interest to provide all facts and reasons as to why health workers should be vaccinated.

“There are options at this point we do not consider, but are open to discussion.

“But if it does come to a crucial point where health workers opt not to take the vaccine, they are considered a risk to the rest of the country, and not just to themselves.

“Essentially what that means is that we want to have our health service look after us.”

(Vaccine from Australia arriving at Jackson’s International Airport yesterday – Photo courtesy: WHO [Prime Minister’s Media])

Salome Vincent