By Latrishka Thomas
Frontline workers have told Observer they are in no rush to get a Covid booster shot, following Cabinet instructions that they should do so promptly.
Shortly after it conducted its meeting via a round-robin system, the Cabinet announced on December 31 that “all frontline workers are required to move to receive their booster vaccine shots immediately”.
In a round robin, each member of the body is given an opportunity to speak once before anyone may speak a second time, commonly by calling on the members around the table in turn.
However, the employees are apparently not welcoming the news with open arms.
One nurse said to Observer, “I already got my two shots although I really didn’t want to so they can’t force me to get a third one.”
“When is this gonna end? Are they gonna keep forcing us to get more and more vaccines?” a police officer stated.
Similarly, another healthcare worker questioned whether the government is seeking to make the booster shots mandatory.
“I will get my booster in my own time. What they mean by immediately? Is it mandatory? Is there a penalty? They keep forcing this on us,” she argued.
Observer sought clarification on whether the booster is being made mandatory and, according to the Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Lionel Hurst, it is simply a “requirement” to prevent people from getting sick. He explained that while there are consequences for failure to comply with mandates, “required behaviour does not draw some level of punishment”.
A teacher explained that she is hesitant to get the booster because of the reaction she had when she got the AstraZeneca shot.
“I took the vaccine but I don’t know about the booster. I got sick when I got my shots. I don’t like the feeling and I don’t like not knowing what’s going on,” she said.
She explained that she had severe body aches and migraines to the point where she could not leave her bed for two days.
The government’s release also stated that “men and women who have underlying health conditions which make them vulnerable to communicable diseases are also encouraged to take the booster shot immediately”.
Covid-19 booster shots are currently being administered at the Villa Polyclinic and Multipurpose Centre in Perry Bay from 9am to 5pm.
Yesterday, the CDC updated its recommendation for when people can receive a booster shot, shortening the interval from six months to five months for those who received the Pfizer-BioNTech jab.
This means that people can now receive an mRNA booster shot five months after completing their Pfizer-BioNTech primary series.
The booster interval recommendation for people who received the J&J vaccine (two months) or the Moderna vaccine (six months), has not changed.
Additionally, consistent with their prior recommendation for adults, the CDC is recommending that moderately or severely immunocompromised 5–11-year-olds receive an additional primary dose 28 days after their second shot.
Currently, only the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine is authorised and recommended for children aged 5-11.