A total of 440 health care workers have taken the covid19 vaccine so far, the Ministry of Health said on Monday during a virtual press conference.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the ministry is almost halfway through its goal of inoculating 1,000 of the most at-risk healthcare workers in the shortest time possible.
So far the North Central Regional Health Authority has vaccinated 293 people, the South West Regional Health Authority 113 and on Saturday, the Tobago Regional Health Authority vaccinated 34 people.
Deyalsingh added that RHAs are now engaging internal staff to seek out those willing to take the vaccine.
Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram added that so far the prevalence of front-line workers accepting the vaccine was high.
Parasram said the people who were actually seeing covid19 cases on a daily basis were first in line to be offered the vaccine.
The ministry sought out healthcare workers in the Augustus Long Hospital in San Fernando, Arima General Hospital, the Caura Health Facility and Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility as well as parts of the Scarborough General Hospital which dealt with the pandemic to take the vaccine.
“In Augustus Long Hospital...196 people who have met the criteria. Out of those people, 113 took it in one day.
“In the Caura/Couva cohort, 400-500 people have fallen into the group. Already they have close to 300 people who have already taken it. So the uptake in that high-risk group has been good so far.”
One of the first people to take the vaccine, Dr Don Martin, medical chief of staff at Couva Medical Facility and an infectious disease specialist, said side effects could include pain, swelling or redness around the injection site, mild fever, chills, feeling tired, headache, muscle and joint aches and dizziness.
“I can tell you of my own experience of taking the vaccine,” Martin said. “I had injection-site irritation, I would have felt a bit of fatigue the following day – but outside of that, nothing else to mention.”
He said similar symptoms were seen among colleagues who also took the vaccine.