Press conference with COVID-19 Public Advisor, David Ellis and Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand – October 21, 2021. (PMO)

An appeal is being made for persons with new ideas to encourage more of the Barbadian population to get vaccinated against COVID-19, to come forward and share them with the Immunisation Unit.

Co-coordinator of the National Vaccination Programme for COVID-19, Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand, made that appeal today during a press conference with COVID-19 Public Advisor, David Ellis.

She noted that 50 per cent of the island’s population was yet to come forward for the first dose of the vaccines being offered against COVID-19, despite a rising death rate among the unvaccinated.

“I am not happy with the uptake from those who have not even had a first dose…. This is not good enough, but we will keep pushing,” she said.

She outlined that Government, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, was presently using six sites as vaccination centres; had gone into communities; used loud speakers; engaged influencers and had messages on the airwaves daily in an effort to encourage persons to get vaccinated.

But, she lamented, there were still those who indicated as recently as last weekend while the team was in Bathsheba and along the East Coast, that they preferred to “wait”.

“What are you waiting for?” Dr. Ferdinand queried, stressing that the highest death rate from the viral illness was among the unvaccinated.

As a result, she stated that she was open to hearing additional ideas on how to encourage more people to come forward and be vaccinated, noting that the feasibility of each would be assessed. “Please, if you can tell us your ideas on how we can improve the uptake, I will be very happy,” she said.

Dr. Ferdinand, however, gave the assurance that they would continue to provide the service for those who wanted to receive the vaccine.  “We are there, the nurses, doctors, admin staff, records people; we are there at our posts waiting for everyone to come.”

She also encouraged individuals who wanted to be vaccinated to call the office at 536-8222, so the necessary arrangements could be put in place to facilitate the process. “We are going all over….  The more places we can go, we will go,” Dr. Ferdinand stated.

julia.rawlins-bentham@barbados.gov.bb

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