UNC MPs ready for their jabs

Naparima MP Rodney Charles.
Naparima MP Rodney Charles.

UNC NAPARIMA MP Rodney Charles, 72, told Newsday on Wednesday he was ready and waiting to take a covid19 vaccination once it was available.

"I'm the oldest MP. I'm older than the Minister of Health (Terrence Deyalsingh), so after the first responders I'd expect to be high up in the line," he explained.

He said he was no anti-vaxxer.

'"No no, not at all," Charles said. "I go with the data. Once the WHO (World Health Organization) says AstraZeneca is approved, I'll take my chance. It is approved.

"I have friends in Canada and in Europe who have already taken the AstraZeneca. I've been informed that the blood-clotting issue is minuscule and of normal prevalence.

"Bring it on! My hand is ready. I'm ready to be injected. I'm most willing to avail myself of this vaccination."

Asked if he had called a hotline to book an appointment, Charles said, "I'll be doing so tomorrow."

Pointe-a-Pierre MP David Lee told Newsday that it was a responsible stance to support vaccinations, adding, "I'm in full support. I'll wait my turn whenever that turn arrives."

However, he lamented his elderly aunt had to stand for 90 minutes in a health centre to put her name on a list for vaccination, as her local hotline to register was not working.

Lee wondered why the results of the scheduled vaccination of 1,000 people (presumably frontline workers) with doses sent from Barbados had not been publicised.

"If everything was positive, I would have thought the Minister of Health would have made these people his poster boys and poster girls for vaccination. Bring a couple of people who got vaccinated, and it'll encourage others."

Newsday could not contact Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar to ask if she would get vacinated, but UNC PRO Dr Kirk Meighoo told Newsday, "Nothing yet has been determined."

Former UNC prime minister Basdeo Panday told Newsday, "I haven't made up my mind as yet. I'd like to see others get vaccinated before me."

Former education minister Dr Tim Gopeesingh told Newsday everyone should get vaccinated.

"I'd like to advise all citizens to get vaccinated, particularly those above 55, even those people without co-morbidities, once the vaccine becomes available."

He said vaccination was even more vital for individuals with co-morbidities such as diabetes, hypertension, cardiac disease, lung disease or cancer.

However, he feared TT so far had too few vaccine doses to achieve herd immunity, whereby enough people were resistant to catching the virus (due to vaccination or previous infection) and it would have nowhere to go. While the WHO has said this ratio was unknown for covid19 (compared to a 95 per cent rate for measles), Gopeesingh considered a 70 per cent figure, for an adult population of one million.

"Now we have 33,000 doses, but we will need 700,000 citizens to get vaccinated to achieve herd immunity."

He reckoned that if 40,000 doses come from India and 70,000 from Covax, together with the current 33,000, this would total 140,000 doses.

He calculated that at the rate of 1,000 people vaccinated per day, the current target of the Health Ministry, full vaccination of the population would take four years.

Gopeesingh said the Ministry of Health should have a list of elderly people, rather than having them queue up to register in the absence of working phones.

He also said hundreds of doctors and nurses in private hospitals should be vaccinated, like their public-sector counterparts.


"UNC MPs ready for their jabs"

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