COREY CONNELLY and KINNESHA GEORGE
Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine has revealed more than 500 Tobagonians were pre-registered to receive the first doses of 3,000 covid19 vaccines.
On Wednesday, TT received 33,600 vaccines in the first tranche from the World Health Organization’s Covax facility.
Of that number, Tobago got 3,000 vaccines on Thursday, which is expected to vaccinate an estimated 1,500 people.
Among those to be vaccinated are essential or frontline workers along with people with chronic illnesses.
The roll-out is expected to begin on Tuesday at the Scarborough and Canaan health centres. The Prime Minister has said he will receive his vaccine in Tobago.
Speaking to Newsday on Friday, Davidson-Celestine said: “We have more than 500 persons pre-registered for the vaccine and the numbers are climbing steadily.”
She added the division expects to hit its quota of 1,500 soon.
“All systems are go to start the vaccination on Tuesday. The vaccines are safely stored at the CMOH’s (County Medical Officer of Health’s) office in a controlled environment.”
Davidson-Celestine also expressed concern about the large numbers of people who were not wearing masks at the beaches on the Good Friday holiday.
“As I drove around the island, I see beaches full and overflowing with beach-goers. But what struck me is that a significant number of persons weren’t wearing a mask and weren’t following the protocols.”
She added the island and country, by extension, cannot survive another lockdown.
“I am not sure certain that our economy can survive another lockdown arising from a third wave. The world is in a financial crunch and we are no different.”
Davidson-Celestine said every citizen has a responsibility to ensure they protect themselves “even while we play this Easter.
She observed the number of new covid19 cases are increasing rapidly.
“That is a cause for concern for me and I hope it is for all of us. Let’s play safe this Easter. Let’s work together to keep the numbers down.”
Davidson-Celestine added: “We must take control of ourselves from gathering and partying.”
She said while she understands the need for people to socialise “we are still in danger.
“We cannot sacrifice lives for a good time. the new deaths and new cases everyday are a signal that we need to heed. If we don’t take better care we cannot reopen our borders and economy.”
On Thursday, general manager of primary care at the Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) Dr Roxanne Mitchell said the vaccine roll out will begin at the health centres at Scarborough and Canaan. She was on hand to receive the shipment at ANR Robinson International Airport in Crown Point.
Mitchell noted that with the vaccination programme will come the expected return to some level of normalcy in terms of the social and economic well-being on the island.
“It is the first step towards that. We are hoping that persons will register and that persons would keep their appointments once they get an appointment for the vaccine. The sooner we can vaccinate the population, the sooner we can return to what we call normal on the island.”
The acceptance of the vaccine, she said, is voluntary.
“I can only urge persons if it is you are desirous of moving forward in terms of a return to social normalcy and economic normalcy, that you step forward and do your part in terms of getting vaccinated. We would provide the vaccines; you just need to show up and we would do our part.”
Davidson-Celestine, who was also present, encouraged all to get vaccinated.
“I urge all of you – take the vaccines when it arrives as you’ve heard from others, this is the only way that we would be able to reopen Tobago’s economy fully, this is the only way that we’ll be able to help those persons who have since been unemployed as a result of the shutting down of the tourism sector as well as other sectors in Tobago. So, let’s get this ball rolling, come out and get your vaccines.”
This is the second arrival of vaccines in Tobago as on February 18, it received the first batch of 200 doses, part of a gift of 2,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to TT from Barbados, which targeted 100 healthcare professionals.
In its latest update on Thursday, the division said four new cases were recorded, bringing the number of active cases in Tobago to eight.
The release noted that covid19 deaths in Tobago remain at two and the number of samples submitted to the Tobago Regional Health Authority, the Caribbean Public Health Agency and other local testing sites is 3,386. So far, 169 samples have tested positive.