Government appeared set to ramp up COVID-19 vaccinations for the elderly by appointment only during the weekend shutdown, after days of frustrating long queues, blamed on many others “jumping the gun” for the jab.
“Wait for a call telling you it’s your turn and giving you an appointment,” the National Vaccination Committee advised the public in a statement released Friday night by the COVID Communications Unit.
Barbados Today encountered growing frustration and discomfort among elderly people who waited long hours in the sun for their turn to take the jab today.
“This weekend’s efforts will be concentrated on vaccinating Barbadians over seventy years old who have been given appointments to have the shot,” the committee announced, noting that over-70s account for the majority of the thirty-one deaths from COVID-19 to date. “The strict appointment system being used this weekend will make for more orderly and comfortable processing and shorter wait times at vaccination centres.”
While frontline workers and over-70 pensioners are currently receiving their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, Barbadians who fit into other categories have overwhelmed vaccination centres, one of the campaign’s officials said Friday.
National Vaccination Co-coordinator Major David Clarke insisted frontline workers and over-70s are being scheduled for vaccines but said many others have been turning up. People between the age of eighteen and sixty-nine, some of whom have chronic non-communicable diseases, have come declaring that they too have registered online for the jab.
Major Clarke told Barbados Today: “So [Saturday], all the vaccination centres will only be doing persons seventy and older, unless it is a particular group that has been scheduled for an appointment. So if you have not been scheduled for an appointment, do not turn up at a vaccination site.
“People have been telling other people when they get their appointment and lots of people have been turning up. There should be no need for people to line up because we are doing an appointment system and if the appointment system works, you should only have ten people at a time waiting to get vaccinated.”
Scores queued up at West Terrace Primary School, St James, and were turned away after waiting for many hours because they had no appointment.
Barbados Today understands that doctors are sending their patients to the vaccination centres, now numbering a dozen.
Major Clarke said: “We have an appointment system and people are scheduled for a particular slot for their appointment, but what happened is that people turned up from early this morning because they heard that we were giving out vaccines at West Terrace.