Step up to the plate: Acting Chief Fire Officer urges firefighters to take Covid-19 vaccine

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, May 3, 2021 (MMS-SKN) — Ahead of International Firefighters’ Day (IFFD) to be observed on Tuesday May 4, Acting Chief Fire Officer Mr Garfield Hodge on Saturday May 1 joined Prime Minister and Minister of National Security Dr the Hon Timothy Harris at the Sylvia Garnette Primary Health Care Facility in Tabernacle, where he urged young firefighters to step up to the plate and get vaccinated.

In a bid to encourage more persons in his constituency to come forward to get vaccinated, Prime Minister Harris, who is the Area Parliamentary Representative for Constituency Number Seven (Bellevue to Ottley’s) has been camping at the health centre every Saturday morning from 9:00 am to 12:00 noon when a Covid-19 vaccination session is held for persons who would not have had the opportunity to get vaccinated during the week.

The Sylvia Garnette Primary Health Care Facility in Tabernacle is one of the four centres on St. Kitts offering Covid-19 vaccinations on Saturdays. The other health centres are Basseterre, St. Paul’s, and New Town.

Acting Chief Fire Officer Mr Garfield Hodge, who is preoccupied with the logistics of a parade by firefighters on International Firefighters’ Day, Tuesday May 4, through selected streets in Basseterre, was at the health centre to talk to a number of young firefighters on the importance of being vaccinated.

“If you are on the frontline, you can contact persons in the country,” Acting CFO Hodge told the young firefighters. “It means that you can either contract the disease or you can transmit it. And if you contract it, we know the consequences if you are not vaccinated – you would either become extremely sick, hospitalised or worst off, death. So it is important to become vaccinated. I cannot stress it more.”

The previous Saturday saw the head of the Tabernacle Fire Station and Sandy Point Fire Station, Fire Sub Officer Davron Clarke, come along with four firefighters take first dose of the vaccine at the same health centre, which Ag CFO Hodge said should serve as an example to the other firefighters.

He was joined by Prime Minister Harris, Nurse Norine Gabriel, who facilitated the vaccine rollout, and Nurse Vivien Greene-Simon who assisted her, as he talked to the firefighters. His efforts to convenience the firefighters were given a boost when one of the three supervisors at the Tabernacle Fire Station, FO McJulien Isaac, said he was going to take the vaccine.

“Your supervisor Mr Isaac is here, who I have to commend,” said Ag CFO Hodge. “He is leading from the front. He has decided to take the vaccine. He has himself to protect, his family, his organisation, and his country. Gentlemen, step up to the plate and take the vaccine for your sake, your families, the organisation and your country. We are here to serve our country. It is country above self, let’s do what is right.”

In the meantime, Prime Minister Harris who continues to encourage people to get the vaccine was pleasantly surprised when Media Practitioner Mr Peter Ngunjiri stepped forward and took his first dose of the Oxford AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine on Saturday at the Tabernacle Health Centre.

“Peter has been around taking many photos of persons who are doing the right thing, and therefore I was surprised to gather he was not vaccinated,” said Dr Harris. “But today I want to congratulate him for stepping forward, and doing the right thing in getting vaccinated.”

The Honourable Prime Minister added: “When we do get vaccinated we do it first for our self to protect ourselves from harm, and from a virus that kills, and has killed millions all over the world. So I want to encourage as many people as possible to move on and take the vaccine, protect themselves, protect their families, protect their co-workers, protect their community and help us to put the country back to work again by getting vaccinated.”

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