The first set of 100 Tobago frontline workers received their initial doses of the COVID-19 Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine at the Scarborough Health Centre, on Saturday.
The centre is one of three sites, including the Roxborough and Canaan Centres, where vaccinations will take place on the island.
Nigeria-born Dr Ogonna Okeke, head of the Department of Internal Medicine Department and Dr Ian Sammy, head of Accident and Emergency Department-Tobago Regional Health Authority, received the first and second vaccinations, respectively. District Health Visitor Latoya McKenzie-James administered the first dose. District Health Visitor Beryl Samuel-Gray administered the shot to Dr Sammy.
Soon after receiving their vaccines, both doctors said they felt fine. Dr Okeke said he felt "hungry and "normal."
"I will strongly recommend (taking the vaccine)...We have to follow the science. I understand people's trepidation because there has been a lot on social media," he said.
Dr. Ian Sammy, Head, Accident and Emergency Department, Scarborough General Hospital receives the second dose of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine in Tobago from Included Nurse, Beryl Samuel-Gray, District Health Visitor.
THA DIVISION OF HEALTH, WELLNESS AND FAMILY DEVELOPMENT
Dr Ian Sammy said he believed the vaccine was safe and understood the risk of not taking it. He said he had hypertension.
"I believe that once we give people the information, they will be able to make an informed choice. Mine was personal and also a consideration for what is best for the country," he said.
The Tobago Regional Health Authority's General Manager of Primary Health Care Services Dr Roxanne Mitchell said the authority was fully equipped to monitor persons taking the vaccines.
"With regard to the monitoring, we are ready. We were monitoring (COVID-19) persons in terms of primary and secondary contacts daily, in some cases twice per day. That mechanism has been tried as we have the staff, and we do have the ability to ramp up the monitoring."
Secretary of Health, Wellness, and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine said she was happy the vaccines were in Tobago.
"Today is a day of celebration and more so a day of hope. It is a celebration that for the second time, we have been able to record zero cases of COVID-19 on the island," she said.
The 200 vaccines were part of the 2,000 doses given to T&T by the Barbados Government. According to the health authorities, more doses of the vaccines are expected in Tobago next week.