First day of 40-years-and-over COVID vaccination packed but runs smoothly

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Fist day of COVID-19 vaccination for 40 years old and over at the UOG Field House. The vaccination eligibility will be expanded further to 16 years old and above. (PNC file photo)

The Vaccine and Antiviral Prioritization Policy Committee expanded the COVID-19 vaccine eligibility to adults 40 years and older which came into effect today.

At the UOG Fieldhouse, island residents 40 years and older got their first COVID-19 vaccination shot.

Operation Liberate Guam is based at the UOG Calvo Fieldhouse and is being conducted by the Guam National Guard in partnership with the Office of the Governor and Public Health.

The goal is to get the island 80% herd immunity through vaccines by Liberation Day on July 21, 2021.

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Captain Denise Chargualaf, the task force medical commander of the Guam National Guard, said the clinic was very busy today as residents flocked to the site.

Chargualaf says all appointments were fully booked today and there were more walk-ins than expected.

She says that although the clinic’s walk-in capacity is 15 people per hour, the Guard accommodates all walk-ins who are eligible to get vaccinated because the goal is to get as many people as possible immune to the virus.

She encourages residents to schedule appointments via EventBrite to prevent waiting in line.

“If you are able to make an appointment — and I highly encourage that you do — we have a system outside in the parking lot that avoids long wait times. That way, when you do come in to get vaccinated, all you have to do is park, get down, get screened, and then you’re in and out in about 45 minutes,” Chargualaf said.

She added that residents who choose to walk in will have longer waiting times.

Meanwhile, Tamuning resident Anton Bandoc, who got his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine today, says he was nervous at first to get the vaccine but he is now feeling okay.

The 40-year-old encourages island residents to get vaccinated.

“Get the vaccine for your safety and your family’s safety,” Bandoc said.

40-year-old Maria says she feels good after getting vaccinated.

The Mangilao resident says she is happy they finally expanded the age eligibility because she has been waiting.

She said that she didn’t have to wait long to get vaccinated and encourages the community to get vaccinated.

“It’s not as scary as you would think it is. And plus the staff here are pretty nice. They make it just go by smooth and the transition is really quick,” Maria said.

There have been 64,783 people on Guam that have already been vaccinated against the coronavirus as of Wednesday, March 17.

According to Captain Chargualaf, vaccination appointments are fully booked for Friday and Saturday, March 20th.

She says residents can now book appointments for next week at ghs.guam.gov.

COVID vaccination clinics will continue next week at the UOG field house on Tuesday, March 23rd through Saturday, March 27th from 11 am to 5:30 p.m.

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