Covid-19 vaccination sensitisation: Development Bank commended by health official

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BASSETERRE, ST. KITTSMarch 22, 2021 (DBSKN) — Endeavours by the Directorate and Management of the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis for ensuring that members of staff are kept abreast with the latest information on how to remain safe and protected in the face of the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic, and by extension their families and the institution’s clients, have been applauded by a senior Ministry of Health official.

At the invitation of the Management of the Bank, National HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinator and Health Educator, Dr Mathias Afortu-Ofre, conducted a Covid-19 Vaccination Information Session at the institution’s head office on the corner of Church and Central Streets in Basseterre on Thursday March 16 for management and staff.

A Covid-19 Vaccination Clinic was conducted, at the Bank’s boardroom immediately after the information session, by Coordinator, Community Nursing Services, Ms Davida Irish. She was accompanied by Nurse Merle Hodge, Nurse Diana Warner, and Nurse Patricha Henry who administered the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine to a number of staff members.

“It was a pleasure to be invited by the Management of Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis to give sensitisation on the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine,” said Dr Mathias Afortu-Ofre. “I was delighted by the concern the Management has for its staff and customers, which is commendable and should serve as a motivation to other parastatal organisations and business establishments to emulate.”

The team was welcomed by the Bank’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Lenworth Harris, who advised the staff that Dr Afortu-Ofre would be efficient with his presentation and told them that he expected them to pay attention and if there would be any issues and concerns, they would then ask questions. He added that with all the information circulating in public space, there would be many questions.

Dr Afortu-Ofre was introduced to the staff by Human Resources Manager, Ms Danienne Brin.

In his delivery, the Health Official advised the Bank staff that while many Covid-19 vaccines have been developed, only a few have been approved by the World Health Organisation for use. Those approved include the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine which is being rolled out in St. Kitts and Nevis. He advised that it has minimal, if any, side effects.

“The doctors have taken it – why shouldn’t we? And the leaders of the Federation have taken it and they lined up first – why shouldn’t we take it?” posed Dr Afortu-Ofre. “So trust me, the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis and the Ministry of Health have the interest of the people at heart otherwise they won’t line up to take it. So, for me to take it and I am here strong – in fact I am waiting for my second dose in the next eight weeks. You should do the same thing – there is no reason why you shouldn’t take it. Remember the virus is killing a lot of people out there.”

The staff members were however advised that should they take Oxford-AstraZeneca or Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccines which are two-dose vaccines, and should they travel for example to the USA, when the time for their second dose comes around, they should only take the one they took for the first dose because there is no documentation that backs up if it will not have any counter reactions to different vaccines.

“So we are asking that if you take Oxford-AstraZeneca, you stick to Oxford-AstraZeneca,” implored Dr Afortu-Ofre. “If you are taking Pfizer-BioNTech, you stick to Pfizer-BioNTech. It is not a compulsory thing but we are here to encourage you to see the need of protecting yourself.”

At the end of the presentation members of staff were encouraged to go to the boardroom to take the vaccine by CEO Mr Lenworth Harris, who added: “For those of us who will be going, I have gone already and there were no side effects. There are others who would have gone, and they are here still. I really want to encourage everyone to take it – make use of this opportunity.”

Giving his comments after the presentation, National HIV/AIDS Programme Coordinator and Health Educator Dr Mathias Afortu-Ofre said: “It was a great educational session as the participants were very interested in acquiring more knowledge to enable them make well informed decision of the taking the vaccine. After the session a number of them took the vaccine by abiding to the phrase: Don’t wait, don’t hesitate, just vaccinate.”

In the meantime, Marketing and Product Development Officer at the Development Bank of St. Kitts and Nevis, Ms Chantelle Rochester, who was the first to take the vaccine, thanked Dr Mathias Afortu-Ofre, Coordinator, Community Nursing Services, Ms Davida Irish, and the three nurses who took time from their busy schedules to educate the Bank’s Management and Staff on the Covid-19 vaccine, and offering the vaccine to those who had not been vaccinated. 

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