Chief Sec, PDP won't apply yet for 'scarce' vaccines

Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis  - THA
Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis - THA

Two PNM assemblymen have received the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines, and two more are expected to get their jabs later this week.

THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine made the disclosure as she responded to questions from Newsday on Monday.

On April 13, Trinidad and Tobago received a donation of 40,000 AstraZeneca doses from India, enough to vaccinate 20,000 people.

On March 31, TT collected a shipment of 33,600 in the first tranche from the World Health Organization’s Covax facility. Of that number, Tobago got 3,000 doses.

Tobago's vaccination rollout began in February, when the island got 200 doses, part of a gift of 2,000 AstraZeneca vaccines to TT from Barbados. These were offered to 100 healthcare professionals.

Davidson-Celestine was among scores of Tobagonians who received the vaccine on April 6 at the Scarborough Health Centre.

Asked whether assemblymen would be given preference for the vaccines, she said those who are interested have applied. Contrasting with the Ministry of Health's general policy,Tobago has opened registration for the vaccine to anyone over 18.

“Members of the assembly who are interested in receiving the vaccines have made appointments and are expected to receive in due course," Davidson-Celestine said.

Secretary of Finance Joel Jack and electoral representative for Black Rock/Whim/Spring Garden Kelvon Morris confirmed that they applied and have been given appointment dates later this week.

Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis told Newsday he has not applied and will not apply until more doses become available to Tobagonians.

Dennis said: "I am 34 years of age, with no pre-existing conditions, no comorbidities, and therefore I would not be applying for vaccination at this point in time, not until the other persons who are so exposed have accessed and received the very scarce numbers of vaccines that are available."

Scarborough/Calder Hall representative Marslyn-Melville-Jack said she has not applied for the vaccine.

On the other side of the political fence, Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) deputy leader Farley Augustine said members of the PDP are yet to be vaccinated.
“We will apply like everyone else,” he said.

But Augustine stressed, certain groups must be prioritised.

Augustine said he has given instructions to all the assemblymen on his team to seek out those who are at risk and willing to take the vaccine, and get them registered.

“At the last report we got 3,000 vaccines, and that caters for 1,500 people, but we have to get seniors, frontline workers and those with non-communicable diseases to the front of the line. We have about 8,000 people at age 60 and above. That means we do not nearly have enough to cover those most at risk. So I instructed all my area reps to go out in their district and register those most at risk and ensure they get vaccinated.”


"Chief Sec, PDP won’t apply yet for ‘scarce’ vaccines"

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