WYCCF nurse receives first COVID-19 vaccine

WYCCF nurse receives  first COVID-19 vaccine

From left: WYCCF nurse Nancy Flanders administers the first shot to fellow nurse Claudette Rijff.

 ST JOHNS ESTATE--St. Maarten officially opened its COVID-19 vaccination campaign with the administration of the first shot to nurse Claudette Rijff from the White and Yellow Cross Care Foundation (WYCFF) on Monday morning.

  The nurse was administered the vaccine by fellow nurse Nancy Flanders during a livestream broadcast by the Government of St. Maarten Department of Communications (DComm).

  In her opening remarks for the event Prime Minister and Minister of General Affairs Silveria Jacobs said the country is finally at the point where it can look to the future with much hope and optimism. She thanked the community for their patience, dedication and resilience.

  “We can say with great joy that this day has finally come as we begin phase one our execution. As we start this phase with all our frontlines in the medical field and our most vulnerable, the elderly, I am proud and grateful to all who have made today possible,” said Jacobs.

  Minister of Tourism, Economic Affairs, Transport and Telecommunication (TEATT) Ludmila de Weever attending as acting Minister of Public Health, Social Development and Labor VSA also gave her remarks. She mentioned that the setting for the first vaccine administration was quite fitting to celebrate this milestone, as “some of St. Maarten’s most vulnerable reside here at the White and Yellow Cross”.

  De Weever stated that WYCCF is leading the way along with other health care institutions and -providers in ensuring to not only protect the most vulnerable but families “at home and at work. I am looking forward to the public roll out of the vaccination campaign and encourage everyone to educate themselves about the vaccine, engage with your doctor or CPS [Collective Prevention Services-Ed] and register to receive the vaccine,” she added.

  Operation Manager of WYCCF Bregje Boetekees said the WYCCF was honoured to be the first to vaccinate one of its nurses. She gave a run-through of the vaccination process. To carry out the process an intaker, doctor and nurses were present. Prior to getting the vaccine the nurse completed a form with health care questions and then signed her consent to receiving the vaccination.

  Once all proper procedures were carried out the vaccine was administered. This was followed by a 15-minute observation process in the event that the nurse may have had an allergic response to the vaccine.

  In a short question and answer segment nurse Rijff shared her reasons for taking the vaccine. She said that as a nurse who has worked in the WYCCF’s COVID unit, this allowed her to see first-hand just how vulnerable clients were that contracted the virus. “I wanted to protect my clients, protect the community and to protect my co-workers,” she added.

  When asked about just how it feels to be the first COVID-19 vaccine recipient for St. Maarten, she said that she was honoured to be a part of the solution. “I am trying to pave the way so that all of my colleagues can follow.”

  For those who still have doubts about taking that vaccine, nurse Rijff advised to do their research. She shared that at first she was a bit hesitant about the vaccine, but after educating herself on the vaccine she wanted to make a difference. “I would encourage them to take vaccine and together we are stronger,” she added.

  According to Boetekees, vaccinations will continue with WYCCF clients and staff. Also to be vaccinated are family doctors, physical therapists, pharmacists and other healthcare workers.

  At WYCCF 86 per cent of its elderly clients will be vaccinated. “They have felt the impact of COVID-19 like no one else,” she said.

  Head of CPS Eva Lista-de Weever also provided her remarks, where she shared that she will be taking the vaccine, she further encouraged others to do that same. “St. Maarten let us do our part to reduce COVID-19, together we are protected.”

  In closing the event Jacobs further encouraged persons to register for the vaccine and said that she will get vaccinated once it is available to her. “Register to be vaccinated today...do it for yourself, do it for your loved ones and community of St. Maarten,” she added.

  In closing Jacobs announced the passing of the 15-minute mark for nurse Rijff who also received her vaccination passport.