Infection control nurse Keisha Prevatt-Gomez has said she and the other frontline workers who received the AstraZeneca vaccine on February 17 only experienced mild side effects.
Prevatt-Gomez, the first Trinidad and Tobago national to receive the vaccine, was speaking at the Ministry of Health’s virtual press conference on Monday.
She said after receiving the vaccine, she experienced mild side effects, but that was to be expected.
“It is the body’s normal response to building immunity against the virus…As with any vaccine, there was slight tenderness and swelling at the vaccine site.”
She said she had a headache within 24 hours of being vaccinated, but it passed soon after. She said she also experienced slight fever and body pains, but nothing so bad that it prevented her from working.
“I know there were reservations about receiving the vaccine. However, I did my research and followed the trials done…I made sure there would be no adverse effects.”
She said she would advise the public, as well as her remaining co-workers, to take the vaccine.
“Whatever my side effects were, (they were) much less than having the virus.”
Prevatt-Gomez said the other frontline workers who received the vaccine also experienced similar symptoms that lasted 24 hours. “There were a few who had more intense fevers and headaches, but with medication they were better in 24 hours.”
She said everyone is much better now.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said while it was originally reported that 1,000 frontline workers were vaccinated, using the 2,000 vaccines donated from Barbados, in fact a total of 1,113 frontline workers received the vaccine.
He said the ministry was able to vaccinate ten per cent more people because when the seal was broken, they found they had received extra doses. He also said once the seal is broken, there is a six-hour time frame in which the vaccines can be used. Because the ministry did not want to waste the doses, more people were vaccinated.
He said a request to stop vaccinations was made on Monday so the ministry can keep the remaining doses for those who have already been vaccinated to receive as their second dose.