Vaccine rollout: We want to see our country go back normalcy, says Nurse Gabriel

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, May 9, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — Even though she is on vacation, a senior nurse with over 21 years of experience is offering her services to ensure the success of the current Covid-19 vaccination rollout that has targeted over 70 percent of the population for the country to achieve herd immunity, for it to return to some form of normalcy and put people back to work.

“I am presently on vacation which started on April 12 and it is going to finish on Tuesday the 11th of May, but I am here doing vaccinations,” said Nurse Norine Gabriel of the New Town Health Centre.

Ms Gabriel made the remarks on Saturday May 8 at the Sylvia Garnette Primary Healthcare Facility in Tabernacle where she was vaccinating persons who had turned out for their first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine. A total of 23 persons got vaccinated.

“I chose to come because I want to see people in my country vaccinated,” said Nurse Gabriel, who is a resident of Tabernacle Village. “I want people who have been out of work for months to go back to work, but of course I cannot do it alone. I need the public as well to work with us the healthcare workers. They should come forward for the vaccination.”

Although she works at the New Town Health Centre, when the vaccination rollout started at the health centre on February 22, she was at the Tabernacle Health Centre covering for a nurse who was on vacation. It meant that when on February 26 Tabernacle gave the first 10 doses, she was here. Before she went on vacation she was doing vaccinations at the New Town Health Centre.

However, since she went on vacation, Nurse Gabriel has been turning up at the Sylvia Garnette Primary Healthcare Facility every Saturday. The Tabernacle based healthcare centre is one of the four offering vaccinations on Saturdays to cater for persons who would not have the opportunity to take the vaccine on weekdays. The others are New Town, St. Paul’s, and Basseterre Health Centres.

Since the Sylvia Garnette Primary Healthcare Facility started offering vaccinations on Saturdays, on March 27, which was before her vacation started, Nurse Gabriel has been offering her services every Saturday, and says the only Saturday she did not make it was April 24, when Nurse Paula Boddie stood in.

On all these Saturdays, Nurse Gabriel has been working alongside Nurse Vivien Greene-Simon who has been assisting with the registration of persons coming to be vaccinated, and preparing them by educating those with any misconceptions about the vaccine. Vaccination sessions on Saturdays run from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon.

Also present on all the Saturdays is Prime Minister Dr the Hon Timothy Harris, who is the Area Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Number Seven (Bellevue to Ottley’s), and has been encouraging many of his constituents to take the vaccine.

“Our Prime Minister is passionate about the vaccine and it is like he is on a drive for the vaccine,” observed Nurse Gabriel. “Every Saturday he is at the Sylvia Garnette Primary Healthcare Facility here in Tabernacle and he gets persons to come and take the vaccine and thereafter he takes pictures with them, if they so desire.”

According to Nurse Gabriel, because nurses want to see the country go back to some form of normalcy, they have been going out for vaccination sessions at difference workplaces. She added: “For example I have been to Jaro Electronics, I have been to Kajola Kristada, I have been to Digicel, and different workplaces, different organisations giving vaccines.”

Even when she is on vacation there are persons who keep on calling her, and when that happens she would message a nurse and book an appointment for the individuals wanting to get vaccinated. She stated that even though on vacation she does not turn anyone away.

Her advice to people: “Stop listening to the critics, stop listening to the world, and stop listening to the negatives. This vaccine is just like any other vaccine, the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella), the BCG against tuberculosis, the IPV for polio etc. It is not everybody is going to get side effects, not everybody is going to get fever, and it is not everybody is going to get sick. Everybody is unique in their own way. Everybody is their own individual and while some persons may develop some kind of side effect, there are many people who get no side effects at all.”

In the meantime, after Acting Chief Fire Officer Garfield Hodge would have made an appeal to firefighters to step up to the plate and take the vaccine, Fire Sub Officer Glenville Dolphin, Fire Officer Shana Whyte, and Fire Officer Ronaldo Taylor, all from the Tabernacle Fire Station, presented themselves to Nurse Gabriel who administered their first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday May 8.

“The vaccination is a good programme – it helps everybody and I advise you people to take the vaccine,” said Fire Sub Officer Glenville Dolphin. “Do not listen to the word on the street. The vaccine will help you and stop the spread of the Covid-19. We fire officers are in the frontline, I think we should step forward and step up to the plate and take the vaccine.”

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