White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) staff are seen accompanying some of the elderly residents staying at the facility in this file photo.
ST. JOHN’S ESTATE/CAY HILL–White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCCF) and St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) are prepared to begin vaccinating their staff against COVID-19 as of Monday, February 22.
The rules around the administering of the vaccines are very strict, and thus well-planned and smooth-running organisation is essential, it was stated in a press release on Thursday.
The Pfizer BioNTech vaccine has to be kept at a temperature of -70 degrees Celsius, and can only be kept outside this temperature for a limited amount of time. That, in addition to the still-existing COVID-19 regulations, make this operation quite a logistical challenge, it was stated in the release.
Because of this, both organisations started preparing weeks ago. At WYCCF, a special vaccination team was formed, which went over every detail of the plan. Several rooms were freed up and reorganised to streamline the process, and several trainings were organised.
All is expected to be in place – staff will be trained and appointment invitations will be sent out. Quality Nurse Claudette Rijff will be receiving the first dose at 10:00am Monday, which will be live-streamed via the government of St. Maarten Facebook Page by the Department of Communications.
WYCCF and SMMC both fall within the first priority risk group and thus will be among the first to receive COVID-19 vaccines. The first shipment contains the Pfizer BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and is scheduled to arrive in St. Maarten today, Friday, after weeks of preparations. The regulations regarding the transportation, storage and administering of the vaccines require logistical precision for effective vaccination with no errors or wastage.
The vaccination administration at WYCCF is managed by a multidisciplinary team formed specifically for creation and management of the vaccination plan. The plan entailed making space available to administer the vaccines and organising training sessions for staff and clients. It also entailed an extensive social media campaign which saw influential members of the community being interviewed about the vaccine.
SMMC’s vaccination administration process was created and is managed by the Hygiene and Infection Control Department, supported by the Outbreak Management Team (OMT), the Emergency Room Department and AMI Expeditionary Healthcare. In addition to vaccinating all staff, SMMC is also responsible for the vaccination of two other front-line healthcare organisations – the Ambulance Department and St. Maarten Laboratory Services (SLS).
WYCCF Operations Manager Bregje Boetekees is looking forward to receiving her vaccine and seeing her staff and clients vaccinated. She said, “I’m proud of my staff for setting up a difficult and precise operation like this in such a limited time. The commitment and energy that my staff put into creating and executing this plan is remarkable.
“In the beginning, some staff members were doubtful of the vaccine and the safety of it, but after having done research using credible sources, many have positively changed their minds and opinion on the vaccine. All in all, the vaccine is safe and it is important for our clients that we do everything possible to protect them from COVID-19.”
SMMC Medical Director and OMT Chairman Dr. Felix Holiday will be among the first to receive the vaccine on Monday.
He said, “After weeks of intense preparation, we are ready to administer the vaccine to our staff and our colleagues at the Ambulance Department and SLS [St. Maarten Laboratory Services – Ed.].
“As a hospital, we have seen the effects of this disease first-hand. Too many people have been affected and too many lives have been lost, so we cannot sit back and do nothing. Vaccination is necessary, not just to protect ourselves but to protect our healthcare system, our way of life and more importantly, our economy.
“I am proud of our staff and their efforts from the beginning of the pandemic to now. I am happy to be one of the first to receive this life-saving vaccine and encourage everyone to do their part and get vaccinated as well.”
While the vaccines are not mandatory, both organisations encourage members of the public to sign up to receive the vaccine to protect themselves against the risks of contracting COVID-19. Persons interested in receiving the vaccine can sign up via
https://bit.ly/3tOsJLa or using a form that can be collected at Collective Prevention Services (CPS) at the Vineyard Building, the Division of Labor Affairs, Public Service Center in Simpson Bay or at the Government Administration Building.
Source: The Daily Herald https://www.thedailyherald.sx/islands/wyccf-smmc-to-start-vaccinating-staff-monday