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Quarantine staff “relieved” to receive vaccine

13.01.2021 - 11:01
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: RÚV - Freyr Arnarson - RÚV
It will be something of a relief to have the first injection today, says Gylfi Þór Þorsteinsson, the director of the Reykjavík Red Cross COVID-19 quarantine centre. All staff there are among the frontline workers who will be immunised today with the Moderna vaccine that arrived in Iceland yesterday.

Moderna reviewed transport temperature data yesterday and has given its blessing for the 1,200 vaccine doses to be distributed. Heilsugæslan (the capital region healthcare centres) will start inoculating frontline healthcare workers, ambulance crews, and police officers this afternoon. The quarantine centre’s seven staff, its security guards and staff employed by the hotel the centre operates in (who take care of cleaning and other services) are also in the first group for injections. 

Gylfi says the vaccine will make his staff safe against the virus, but will not change things day-to-day. “Of course, we need to stay careful. We could still bring the virus with us out of the building. So, we still need to be as careful as before. We need to adhere to all contagion prevention, wear the outfits and masks and all that. But this is mostly to protect us against the virus so that we will hopefully not get sick.” 

There are currently 67 guests at the quarantine centre, including 45 in isolation with active infection. Gylfi says they are taken care of by a very small core group of people: “So if someone were to have become sick, it would have been hard to carry on without calling upon Red Cross volunteers and maybe then putting others at risk of infection. So, in our minds, this is something of a relief, it has to be said.” 

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