‘Drive-thru’ COVID-19 vaccination drive for National Stadium this weekend
With the Guyana Government securing enough vaccines for the country’s adult population and in a push to achieve herd immunity, innovative steps are being taken to increase the vaccination uptake in Region Four (Demerara-Mahaica), where an estimated half of the population resides.
Health Minister, Dr Frank Anthony, during his COVID-19 update on Thursday, disclosed that a massive ‘drive-thru’ vaccination drive is planned for the National Stadium, Providence, East Bank Demerara for Saturday, May 22, 2021, and will run from 09:00hrs to 21:00hrs.
Dr Anthony said this method, which has been adopted in other countries, is being done here in a bid to make the vaccines more accessible.
“We had discussions in the ministry and thought that this is one way to make it more accessible and convenient.
“So you drive into the stadium with your car. Once you get into the stadium, someone will approach the car to see the occupants who need vaccination. Then they will do the paperwork and then you proceed to the next station. There, the paperwork will be verified and the jab is administered and then you move onto the third station where you wait for 15 minutes for observation,” Dr Anthony explained.
He believes that this move will see a lot more persons coming out to take the jab.
The ministry has secured the assistance of some 40 volunteers to work with health professionals on this first initiative, with Dr Anthony promising to have enough trained vaccinators on site.
“While innovative and novel, we hope to get a lot of people vaccinated once we have persons coming to do that,” Dr Anthony added.
He said the ministry is collaborating with a number of agencies, including the Ministry of Culture, Youth, and Sport, which had to grant permission for use of the stadium; the Ministry of Public Works, which is providing lighting; the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Police; and a few community and religious organisations.
“Discussions are continuing, but everything is in place to go early Saturday morning… this is to accommodate a lot of people. I hope people take advantage of the opportunity and we will be able to immunise a lot of persons with the first dose and those coming for the second dose as well,” the Health Minister added.
He said once the initiative works in Region Four, it will likely be replicated in other regions where necessary.
This is being done even as the government has announced plans to extend the operating hours to 8 pm for COVID-19 vaccination sites.
The extension of the operating hours will be done as a trial, commencing on May 22, to see if it would encourage more persons to access the vaccines.