Take-up of COVID-19 vaccines among nurses slow

AS administration of the COVID-19 vaccine continues, the take-up among nurses has been slow.

Dr Sandra Chambers, regional technical director in the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA), told the Jamaica Observer that while health-care workers are accepting the vaccine and the uptake is favourable, there is some hesitance among the nursing group.

“As it relates to health-care workers, some facilities have a better uptake than other facilities. Some categories of staff take it better than other categories of staff. There is hesitance among the nursing group. There is a wait-and-see [approach] so not a lot of nurses are being vaccinated. Some facilities will have a reasonable amount of nurses, others will have a negligible amount of nurses being vaccinated,” Dr Chambers told the Sunday Observer recently in reference to questions regarding vaccination uptake in the region.

But Patsy Edwards Henry, president of the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ), said initially it was difficult to judge how many nurses had taken the vaccine but in the subsequent days since its availability, there has been a steady increase in the COVID-19 vaccine uptake among nurses.

The NAJ president, however, explained that over 200 nurses are out in quarantine and another set have been infected with COVID-19, which had an impact on staffing and availability to volunteer for the vaccine.

“Those nurses wouldn’t have been able to get the vaccine and we have another number who were actually infected with COVID-19 prior to the vaccine coming and I do know that those nurses were waiting on a confirmation to say yes, they can take the vaccine. I believe the nurses are taking the vaccine — some slower than others. Nurses have comorbidities, nurses have challenges and just like the rest of the population, we do have some nurses who may still be waiting to take the vaccine, but on a whole nurses are taking the vaccine,” Edwards-Henry said.

Meanwhile, Edwards Henry addressed concerns from the public that nurses were breaching infection control protocols by administering vaccines without gloves.

“We are not trained to give intra-muscular injections with gloves, immunisations are not given with gloves. The only reason you would need a glove is if once you do your assessment and you think that there is a risk for either you or the patient, then you would need to put on a pair of gloves, wash your hands before, do the procedure then wash our hands after. [But] that is universal and it is not required that a glove be worn for an intra-muscular injection,” she said.

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