Governor General Dame Sandra Mason received her first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine today.
Public health officials from the Maurice Byer Polyclinic were on hand to brief the Governor General and to administer the vaccine. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Governor General Dame Sandra Mason received the first dose of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in front of rolling cameras, this morning.

The Barbados Government Information Service was on hand to capture Dame Sandra and her household staff get vaccinated against COVID-19 by a team from the Maurice Byer Polyclinic.

Calling the experience “effortless” and “amazing”, the Governor General urged Barbadians to follow suit.

“In instances like these, it is a question of personal decision. But if I had to give anybody advice, I would say for your personal protection and for your future wellbeing, it might be a very good idea if you were to take the vaccine,” she emphasised.

Dame Sandra also explained why she decided to take the “jab” for all to see. “I chose to do it publicly because people are generally doubtful…. I wanted everyone to trust my word that I had it.  It was a seamless and painless exercise,” she noted.

She said that after consulting her healthcare professionals, she was satisfied that it would be to her benefit if she was immunised and encouraged others to talk to their physicians if they had any questions about being inoculated.

“And at 72 years old, I think that anything that I can do to help to prolong my life, I am prepared to do,” Dame Sandra asserted.

“I am ecstatic almost to have received the vaccination and I hope many Barbadians will follow suit… In any instance, you will have your ‘for’ and you’re going to have the ‘against’ situation. After you have mulled it over and you have listened to your health professionals, and you’ve listened to your conscience and your God, do what you want to do, which I hope is to take the vaccine,” she continued.

Reflecting on her experience on finding out a member of her staff had tested positive for COVID-19, Dame Sandra said she kept her wits about her and informed the entire staff that everyone would need to be tested for the viral illness.

She explained that they were tested and had to move out of Government House to self-isolate. Fortunately, their first tests were negative.

“Having had the second test and it proved negative, I could breathe a sigh of relief.  And having heard that the vaccines were coming, I informed the authorities that I wanted to be, if not first in line, the third or fourth or fifth,” she said, adding that she looks forward to receiving the second dose.

The Governor General also took the opportunity to thank the Government of India which gifted Barbados with the first 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.

“I know our honourable Prime Minister has done it already [but] I want to add my thanks to the Government of India because we are a little speck in the ocean and for them to have thought that we could be in line for this, we are forever grateful,” she said.

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