THE arrival of 40,000 vaccines being donated to Trinidad and Tobago by the Indian government has been delayed. The vaccines were set to arrive on Monday.
The announcement was made by Principal Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health Maryam Abdool Richards during its press conference on Monday.
She said due to circumstances beyond the control of the government, the vaccines have been delayed and the new arrival date would be announced by the ministry when the information becomes available.
On Friday, High Commissioner of India Arun Kumar Sahu said the vaccines being donated to TT had left India and were on its way to TT and were set to arrive on Monday
But on Monday a statement from his office said, “According to the designated airlines, due to inclement weather, the flight carrying the vaccines, a gift from India, to Port of Spain could not land in Miami yesterday as scheduled before.
“However, the flight has landed in Miami today, and the airlines will convey the new schedule of arrival in Port of Spain as soon as they work out the required flight clearance with concerned TT authorities."
It said the vaccines could arrive tomorrow. CEO of the North-West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) Salisha Baksh said there has been a great increase in the take-up of the vaccine, with a large number of people registering to be vaccinated. She said the designated vaccination centres under the NWRHA are the Barataria and Diego Martin health centres.
She said the Barataria health centre, in its first day of vaccinations last Tuesday, had 120 walk-ins registering to be vaccinated. On Wednesday there were 89 walk-ins; 48 on Thursday; and 42 on Friday, making a total number of 299 walk-ins for that week.
She said Diego Martin has a dense population and staff encountered an even larger number of walk-in registrations. On Tuesday, there were 520; 763 on Wednesday; 465 on Thursday; and 285 on Friday. The total for the week was 2,061.
She said human resources had to be increased at the centres to mitigate the crowds.
Baksh also said the NWRHA piloted a mass vaccination exercise, partnering with the Defence Force, on Saturday to deal with the number of people registered to be vaccinated.
She said it began at 8am and ended at 7pm and had a target of 300 patients, 75 per cent of whom had been NCD clinic patients, and the other 25 per cent non-NCD patients who met the other criteria for vaccination and had registered earlier in the week.
She said staff were able to vaccinate 502 people, as more walk-ins were accepted.
Thanks to he success of the exercise, the ministry plans to double the number of vaccination sites, starting with the Morvant and Carenage health centres. The Morvant site should be active by Tuesday, and Carenage by the end of the week, she said.
Baksh also said the ministry began with one designated telephone line for phone registrations on Tuesday, and by the afternoon it had expanded to three lines to deal with the volume of callers.
“Unfortunately, we were still inundated with calls on Wednesday,” she said, so the phone lines have now been increased to six.
Richards said an online registration portal should be active by the end of the week.