The rollout at the North Central Regional Health Authority's mass vaccination site at UTT, Monroe Road, went smoothly on Monday.
NCRHA CEO Davlin Thomas said at least 1,000 people were expected to be vaccinated by the end of the day.
Thomas said while the site was being used to vaccinate people with appointments, walk-ins had been accommodated up to 10 am.
“We engaged an appointments system on the weekend as soon as the minister announced it. During the morning period, we were overwhelmed with a lot of people who came in without appointments, possibly because they heard about it. We would have assimilated as many as we could that didn't have appointments or would have missed or had appointments cancelled previously; but for us to be able to finish the day, and when we looked at the trajectory, we need to stick to appointments now.”
He said there were people who were site-hopping in an effort to get a vaccine, “so they went originally through St Joseph and then went to another site and because they realised they had to have appointments, they are 'hopping' until they get one.”
People trying to enter the venue after 10 am were asked if they had appointments and had their names checked against an appointment list at the entrance gate. Newsday noted that four people were scheduled in each 15-minute period. People were given forms to fill out and sat in a tent until their names were called, at which point they had their hands sanitised and their temperatures checked before entering the building. Their forms were checked by a doctor, including confirmation that they had consented to being given the vaccine, and then they were directed to the vaccination room on the second floor.
The atmosphere in the vaccination room was lively, smooth, and professional. People were again asked if they consented to being given the vaccine before the shot was administered.
They were then directed to another room, where they waited for half an hour before they were asked if they had any symptoms, and were given back their vaccination cards and allowed to leave.
Thomas said facilities were put in place for those with mobility problems.
"We have a separate convalescent room for people who have problems with mobility on the ground floor, And then people who are normal and basically can walk around, who are ambulatory, can go on the top floor...we have about ten stations, and we seem to be going pretty smoothly.”
He said there was a sense of camaraderie among the medical personnel working in the vaccination programme.
“We've had other doctors who volunteered, we had people who came out on their day off to help out. So there's really been a lot of camaraderie and engagement.
"What was interesting, too, is that even this morning I'm getting texts from people who are ex-workers, who are workers in our facilities, who work in other industries, who are texting North Central now asking if we need help, if we want them to volunteer to come in to do work. It was a really heartwarming experience.”