COVID-19 update and press conference – February 8, 2021. (PMO)

As Barbados prepares to roll out its vaccination programme, citizens are again being encouraged to take the vaccine.

This time the encouragement is coming from Chief Mission Officer at Holy Cross Health, Washington, DC, Rev. Dr. Kirtley Yearwood, who has already taken the vaccine.

The Barbadian-born medical doctor, pathologist, and hospital administrator, emphasised the importance of taking the vaccine this evening while participating in the COVID-19 press conference which discussed: The Roll Out of the COVID-19 Vaccination in Barbados.

Rev. Yearwood received his first jab on December 23 and the second on January 11, and said he had “absolutely no side effects”.

“After my first dosage, my left arm was a little bit heavy for about a half hour or so, and that’s it; no fever or anything else like that. So, I can testify to the importance of receiving a vaccine,” he stated.

Holy Cross Health is a not-for-profit Catholic health system which serves more than 240,000 patients yearly from Maryland’s two largest counties.  

Rev. Yearwood has, in recent times, been greatly involved in the coordination of the vaccinations. Holy Cross Health started vaccinating on December 18, and as of last Friday,11,300 vaccinations were administered.

“We have had no one die from receiving a vaccination…. Some individuals complain of a little mild fever or a few body aches, especially after the second dose, which you would expect as the immune system is revved up, but no one has died,” he stressed.

He noted that the institution had treated almost 6,000 patients with COVID-19 and there were some deaths.

He pointed out that as of today, there were 87 patients in that hospital with the viral illness, and there was one death over the weekend.  

“So, the number of deaths has started to come down as we have ramped up the vaccinations across our state and across the region.  So, the vaccine is already beginning to have an impact…,” he opined.

Rev. Yearwood said he was “very impressed” with the measures taken by Government and those in the health sector to curtail the spread of the disease and surmised that it waseasier for a smaller nation to go into lockdown.

“We have to say, however, that we are human beings; staying in lockdown and lack of socialisation is hard on people.  It’s natural to want to get out and mix and mingle with your friends and family; so it’s challenging. But it is so very important for people to maintain those measures as a way to curtail the spread.

“If we relax ourselves and start hanging out and partying and going to the various rum shops, etcetera, …we have the tendency, therefore, to spread this disease even more. You cannot see the enemy, that’s why it’s so hard,” he stated.

Rev. Yearwood gave the reminder that even when persons received the vaccination, they should maintain physical distance; wear the mask and practise regular hand sanitising.

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