Get vetted for COVID vaccine, elderly warned
Elderly Jamaicans have been urged by elder-care and medical experts to consult with their doctor about whether the fragility of their health may disqualify them from the roll-out of the coronavirus vaccine in the spring.
The warning comes amid an investigation into the deaths of 23 elderly people in Norway who took the Pfizer BioNTech jab.
The World Health Organization COVAX Facility to which Jamaica subscribes, struck a deal on Friday for the provision of 40 million doses.
Joyce Reid, who is thriving in her 80s, is hopeful that she will fall within the 16 per cent of Jamaicans who will get the vaccine in the first phase. She said she would wait until the appointed time to consult with her doctor on her fitness.
“If I get enough information, then I will accept,” she said on Thursday.
Seventy-two-year-old Delletha Adams, who was swabbed by a coronavirus mobile testing crew scouring the St Andrew communities of Washington Gardens and Duhaney Park on Thursday, will become the prime target of a public education campaign that could be crucial to bracing against vaccine apathy.
Adams, though, may not be able to take the jab because of a history of allergic reactions she has had with other vaccines. With a long history of lung complications, among other underlying illnesses, Adams said she might have no other option but to exercise COVID-19 vigilance.
“Mi haffi just live by grace and hope say me no get it,” she told The Gleaner.
“If they had it in any other form like tablet or liquid, I would try that or any other thing that will help.”
Like many governments across the world, the Holness administration will battle vaccine resistance because of high levels of hesitancy among the population.
Jean Lowrie-Chin, founder and CEO of Caribbean Community of Retired Persons, is recommending that elderly folk express their concerns to their doctors and not shy away in ignorance.
“A lot of elders have other underlying conditions, and this is why I advise them to consult with their doctors because they will not be able to determine by themselves what sort of risks there are,” Lowrie-Chin told The Gleaner.
President of the Medical Association of Jamaica, Dr Andrew Manning, has cautioned against alarm because the Pfizer vaccine is unlikely to be issued locally because of its onerous cold-storage requirements.
However, he, too, maintained that doctors “have to look at the safety profiles.” He reiterated that pregnant women and those under the age of 16 or 17, as well as persons who are prone to allergic reactions, should not take the vaccine.