COVID Public Advisor David Ellis hosts Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best & Head of Isolation Facilities and Infection Control Specialist, Dr. The Most Honourable Corey Forde. (PMO)

Vaccination, booster shots, and early assessment have been recommended as key ways to prevent COVID-19 deaths among the elderly.

This advice came today from Head of Isolation Facilities and Infection Control Specialist, Dr. The Most Honourable Corey Forde, during a COVID-19 update and press conference, hosted by COVID-19 Public Advisor, David Ellis.

Dr. Forde, who noted it was necessary to address the topic and the importance of the elderly population to society, stated: “You need to check in on your elderly individuals, but I think more importantly, apart from checking in on them … we need to recognise that there are elderly people and they have multiple comorbidities and the risk to them can be high.”

To prevent the COVID-19 deaths among the elderly population, he stressed: “Apart from being our brother’s keeper or family keeper, we also need to do a few things. So, apart from checking in on them, we need to check their vaccination status.  If you have them and they’re not vaccinated, I [am] begging you, please try to get them vaccinated, and the important part, get them boosted.”

Dr. Forde advised that the elderly population should receive booster jabs due to that age category having multiple comorbidities, and also because some studies have shown that the initial vaccination tends to wane off in about six months.

In addition to the vaccinations and boosters, the Head of Isolation Facilities recommended bringing the elderly for assessment when they are not feeling well, especially if they are displaying any symptoms of COVID-19.

“The other key point which I think is strategically important is if you have your elderly grandma, your great aunt, whoever at home, if they’re ill, bring them early. This is one of the challenges we saw among this population of deaths, so bring them in early; … bring them in for assessment; don’t … delay,” Dr. Forde urged.

The medical official pointed out that there are two assessment centres where persons may visit to be assessed for COVID-19.  These are the Sparman Clinic in Belleville, St. Michael, and the Barbados Workers’ Union Labour College, in Mangrove, St. Philip.

Dr. Forde advised caregivers of the elderly to encourage them to get assessed to avoid a negative outcome. He noted that persons were being presented at medical facilities like the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Accident and Emergency Department and by then they are “too sick and too far gone”.  This, he said, makes it really difficult for the staff at such institutions, especially at isolation facilities, to treat them.

Speaking about the aftercare of a positive COVID-19 elderly person, Dr. Forde recommended that they continue with their usual doctor visits whether at a polyclinic or private general practitioner, so that they could be monitored carefully, and if they experience any joint pains or breathing issues they should be taken to be assessed at one of the centres, as a precautionary measure.

“I’m asking you to act on this information that I’ve given you today….  We will continue to fight to save every single life and with every strength that we have in our bodies to make sure that we can get these individuals safe and back home to the family, but we need you, certainly as a public, to fight with us”, he emphasised. 

He also encouraged the public to continue to follow the protocols which are in place.

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