UNDERLYING HEALTH ISSUES: Vaccination a lifeline for some

UNDERLYING HEALTH ISSUES: Vaccination a lifeline for some
Marina Laing, chief telephonist at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).

PMH has capacity for 120 vaccinations per day, says hospital admin

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Marina Laing, chief telephonist at Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH), received her COVID-19 vaccination with a smile yesterday.

For Laing, who suffers from hypertension, lupus and pulmonary fibrosis, the first dose of Oxford AstraZeneca, which has around a 69 percent efficacy after the first dose, means if she contracts the coronavirus, she is not expected to become severely ill or die from the virus.

Pulmonary fibrosis is a lung disease that occurs when lung tissues become damaged or scarred.

The coronavirus causes mild to severe respiratory illness, making Laing more vulnerable.

With her options weighed, she told the media shortly after becoming inoculated at PMH that it was an easy decision.

Marina Laing receives her first dose of the vaccine yesterday. (BIS PHOTO/LETISHA HENDERSON)

“I decided to vaccinate today because I have underlying issues,” she said.

“I would really love to travel.

“I want to bring some normalcy in my life, visiting family members, especially my daddy.

“He is 88 years old and I need to be around him to take care of him.

“I have a son in the United States. I would like to visit him, so that is my main reason to be vaccinated.”

Laing has not physically seen her son or father over the last year.

She said it will be joyous to see them face-to-face and hold them again.

Laing said she has been fortunate that her family has not been affected by COVID-19.

Since the onset of the pandemic, 186 people have lost their lives to the virus.

Yesterday, Laing encouraged her colleagues to take the vaccine, saying it is the “right thing” to do.

She said: “It’s easy, it’s comfortable and it gives you a relaxing feeling to know that you’re doing the right thing; you’re being safe; you’re trying to protect yourself.”

Recalling the last year, she said it has been “very stressful” and she was afraid at times to go outside and to work.

“We work indirectly with the services there, so you know we still are at risk, walking in public places,” she added.

As part of the vaccine rollout, PMH began vaccinating public nurses and private nurses assisting with the vaccine program, residents and staff of elder care homes and uniformed branches.

Eyewitness News understands just shy of 120 people registered via the appointment system to be vaccinated at PMH yesterday.

PHA Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows.

Catherine Rodgers, chief clerk in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Public Hospitals Authority (PHA) Deputy Managing Director Lyrone Burrows; and Dr Caroline Burnett-Garraway, medical chief of staff at PMH, among others, were vaccinated yesterday.

Burrows said: “After a year of lockdowns and curfew, to be in a position to start to be on that road to full redemption is a wonderful feeling.”

He said there was a “significant take up” of interest in the vaccine.

He also said the number of vaccinations in-country is in line with those targeted groups to receive it and anticipated there will be more than sufficient time to distribute those doses and “no challenges in terms of wastage”.

Meanwhile, Rodgers said she took the vaccine to be with family safely and she was “tired of wearing these masks”.

“I wanted to get back into some sort of normal life,” she said.

“I wanted to have my family — my nieces and nephews — that’s why I said as soon as they start this, I am going to be there.”

Asked how her colleagues feel about the vaccine, Rodgers said: “Some of them, they are thinking about it, they’re considering it. Some of them, they have other issues and said they’re going to have to speak to their physicians.

“A lot of them, they’re on their schedule to get their vaccine because I guess they feel like me also. From last year March to now, we’re ready to take these masks off.”

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.