I should start by saying we didn’t do things by the book. Not exactly.
This is because, at the moment in Bonaire, you’re not supposed to get the Covid vaccine unless you’re over 60-years old, or unless you are working as medical personnel. But at the same time, when they opened up the online registration facility for the vaccine, I read a comment on Bonaire’s Corona Facebook page that anyone could register. Maybe they would figure things out age-wise, I thought, and put people on the list accordingly. They start vaccinating everyone else from the 1st of May.
This was our dilemma. We need to leave Bonaire around this time – and the scheduling here for the vaccine is that you get both vaccine appointment dates together – three weeks apart. So, even if we were here for the first vaccine, we probably wouldn’t be still here for the second dose.
Knowing this, we turned the information over. Bonaire has offered to vaccinate everyone on the island, resident or visitor. The vaccines are Pfizer vaccines, sent from Holland.
We decided it wouldn’t hurt just to register. See what happens. They can always say no. We registered.
Of course, since the vaccination programme began, the vaccine take-up in Bonaire has been unexpectedly low. Maybe not surprising really, but only realisable with hindsight. As the weeks have progressed, only about 50% of those in the over 60s category have registered for the vaccine.
About two weeks later, we received an appointment for the vaccine via email – for the 18th of March and the 8th of April. We stared at the Dutch words and thought we better call the helpline. After explaining our situation, the helpline lady said we could have the vaccine, as long as we got supporting letters from the doctor. So we made a telephone appointment with the doctor.
‘Do you have pre-existing medical conditions?’ she asked. Apparently, we could have the vaccine under this premise. Even though it hadn’t officially been announced, this was the new rule.
Jack went with his medical history, and then I went with mine, then we explained about Delph’s cerebral palsy – and how we care for her. Delph would be so pleased about me writing this. Anyway, we stopped short of saying how we had to cross the Atlantic and doing so with Covid would be possibly a small disaster. We didn’t need to. The doctor said she would write her letter. We just needed to turn up at the appointment already given.
So we did. The vaccination centre was in a sports hall. For such a tiny island, Bonaire really has impressive facilities. The whole thing was impressive. The line was composed of different segments. Sit here to see nurse. Sit here to wait for any side effects. Sit here for next appointment time. The nurse was lovely too. I don’t know what I was expecting, but it was very normal in a way.
‘Do you mind if I take a selfie of us?’ I asked the nurse after she stuck the needle in my arm. Just a little prick.
‘Sure,’ she said. ‘Maybe if you put it on social media, it’ll convince more people to come.’
I nodded – even though I didn’t know any more people to come. I just wanted to record it. Thank you Bonaire 🇧🇶 💕.