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By Carlena Knight

Health officials who were among the first set of residents who stepped forward to take the first shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine in February, began receiving their second doses yesterday.

During a brief ceremony to mark the event Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Rhonda Sealey-Thomas took the opportunity to thank the nurses for their role in the vaccination campaign as they continue to celebrate Nurses Week.

“Our nurses have been leading our vaccination programme in Antigua Barbuda successfully and they have been an integral part of the Covid-19 national vaccination programme. It is very fitting as well they are celebrating Nurses Week and I want to congratulate all of them and wish them a successful week,” Dr Sealey-Thomas said.

After getting her second dose, Dr Sealey-Thomas spoke to what people may experience after getting their second dose as well.

“Well, I would love to say that it was painless, but it was a small stick, as it is, a needle going into your arm, but the nurses are very experienced. I just want to remind members of the public that with vaccines, your body will react differently. There may be some reaction to the vaccine which tells us that it is working. I anticipate that the same will occur with me having received the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine. We have been told that the reaction after the second dose is usually milder than when you would have gotten the first, so we will see what happens later on,” the CMO stated.

She also had this word of encouragement for residents.

“I invite everyone who is here, and the others as well, to get vaccinated and invite members of the public as well to get that first dose. If you have gotten that first dose, then remember, it’s very important for you to get fully vaccinated. You need to get that second dose of the vaccine,” she said.

Subsequent to administering the second dose to healthcare workers, members of the Cabinet will receive their second dose today, May 13, at the Office of the Prime Minister on Queen Elizabeth Highway. Retired parliamentarians will also receive their second dose at the Parliament Building on May 15.

A subsequent announcement will be made for the second dose schedule for uniformed bodies and targeted groups.

The general public is asked to pay attention to the dates for the second dose, which is written on their vaccination cards. They are also invited to return to the centers where they received the first dose.

However, those persons who received their first dose at the Sir Novelle Richards Academy are asked to note that the second dose will be administered at the Precision Center in Paynters.

The other vaccination sites are located at the Multipurpose Cultural and Exhibition Centre, the Glanvilles Polyclinic, and the Villa Polyclinic. 

The first dose of the Covid-19 vaccine will still be administered at all vaccination centers.