The first phase of TT’s covid19 vaccination programme will begin today and the Prime Minister and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh are scheduled to receive the first dose of one of the 33,600 does of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Deyalsingh will receive his first dose at 3 pm at the St. Joseph Enhanced Health Centre, Uriah Butler Highway, Champs Fleurs. The Prime Minister is also expected to receive his first dose of the vaccine at the Scarborough Health Centre in Tobago.
In a television interview on Monday, Deyalsingh said of the vaccination roll-out, “So tomorrow (Tuesday) is probably the most significant day in the history of the public health system in TT where we try to get a handle on this pandemic.”
He said all systems were in place at the 21 sites for Tuesday and vaccines have been delivered.
“We are primed and raring to go,” he said.
Deyalsingh asked the public to co-operate with the ministry and its healthcare providers on Tuesday, saying only people with appointments were to turn up at the sites and they should walk with their vaccination cards.
He congratulated the Ministry of Health and various regional health authorities, saying they had been planning for the vaccinations for a few months now.
“Everything has gone smoothly so far. However, we do anticipate some unforeseen challenges and we ask the population and the media to work with us. We will overcome any challenge that will arise to make sure the client experience is as smooth and comfortable as possible.”
He also asked the public to re-commit to the public health measures of wearing their masks, physical distancing and all of the things that got the country down to three and four cases per day, but which some people have abandoned.
“Please let us re-commit ourselves. The vaccine is just one more layer of protection. It is not a silver bullet. But we need to maintain all of the public health measures that brought us to a good place a few weeks ago,” he said.
Covid19 cases have risen in the last week with the number of active cases now at 382.
On March 30, TT received 33,600 doses of the covid19 vaccines through the Covax facility.
The country was initially given 2,000 vaccines from the Barbadian Government after Barbados had received a gift of 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the Indian Government.
The Health Ministry’s website said phase one of the country’s vaccination will continue with healthcare workers and people 60 and over with non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
It added that people who are a part of the NCD clinics at the 21 established covid19 vaccine facilities will not have to pre-register or make an appointment to get the vaccine.
The website said people who should not get the vaccine at this time include pregnant and breastfeeding women, people younger than 18 and people with severe reactions to a component in the vaccine.
It advised those getting the vaccine on the day to wear clothing that would provide easy access to the upper arm for vaccination and have a good meal or non-alcoholic beverage.