Some elderly residents turned away during vaccination due to miscommunication

DPHSS vaccination clinic. (PNC file photo)

Today was the first day for the COVID vaccines to be distributed to Guam’s elderly but the event was overshadowed by miscommunication, leading to a number of manamko having to leave the vaccination sites.

Helen M. Meneses, a manamko from Dededo, said: “I was so thankful for that, that I had my vaccination. And I’m sure that hopefully, there’s no virus for my health.”

Meneses was one of the over 390 registered elderly who was able to get the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine Monday morning at Okkodo High School.

Residents from ages 75 years and older, who have pre-registered with their respective village mayors and were qualified for the vaccines, were told to come Monday through Wednesday to be vaccinated.

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However, due to some miscommunication, the Department of Public Health and Social Services had to tell certain residents to come back the next day.

Janela Carrera, DPHSS spokesperson, said: “Just because we initiated the registration drive, you know, there was some … perhaps some mayors that were giving some wrong information to constituents when there was registration on-going. Some mayors were telling their constituents to just come up here to the vaccination clinic without first registering constituents and then some mayors were giving the wrong dates.”

Carrera reassures that Public Health is working with the village mayors to ensure that the vaccine distribution will run smoothly moving forward.

“We do have a limited supply and that’s why we’re doing this through registration. We want to make sure that the amount of vaccines we have is fairly distributed. We don’t want to turn people away, as much as possible and that’s not what we want to do. We want to make sure that they get the vaccine but we want to make sure that they are registered, just urge them to please get registered with their village mayors,” Carrera said.

Public Health was also able to take down the information of the residents who weren’t able to receive the vaccination today so they can be registered for tomorrow.

According to Carerra, because we are still in phase 1B, the next phase of vaccines will be distributed to those who fall under government essential workers, those who continue to keep government functions running but cannot maintain social distancing on duty.

Public Health is planning to distribute about 400 of the vaccine per day, Monday to Wednesday, 9 am to 3 pm and elderly residents must register with their respective village mayors.