Health Ministry replies to TUCO vaccination request

 Lutalo Masimb, president of TUCO  - Photo by Vidya Thurab
Lutalo Masimb, president of TUCO - Photo by Vidya Thurab

The Ministry of Health has responded to the Trinbago Unified Calypsonians Organisation’s (TUCO) request for vaccinations for calypsonians, soca artistes and musicians and the response was hopeful, its president Lutalo Masimba said on Wednesday.

In a press release on Tuesday, the organisation said it wrote to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh on April 26.

The letter said, “As you are well aware, the entertainment sector has been reduced to ‘ground zero’ since March 2020. This means that all creatives and cultural practitioners have been trapped in a desperate situation for more than a year now.

“While we understand and acknowledge that the entire world is engaged in this battle against the covid19 pandemic, we would also like to underline the reality in the entertainment sector, where saving our livelihood is the same as saving lives.”

TUCO asked the ministry to give special consideration to the entertainment sector in its ongoing vaccination campaign.

In the phone interview with Newsday, Masimba said besides leaving entertainers prepared to capture job opportunities abroad when borders reopened, the initiative was also important for the local entertainment space.

“A number of artistes and entertainers have been quite ready to put on their own events and that kind of thing, and it is just making sure that they are well prepared in the context of the covid19 pandemic,” he explained.

Masimba said TUCO was aware the vaccination was not mandatory and some people in the sector might have been vaccinated already.

TUCO’s request has nothing to do with that, he said.

“It is facilitating the experience, because we have seen where they have said they are winding down on the vaccination process.

“We have also seen where they are doing other people besides the frontline workers.

“So we felt it was important to make a timely request for consideration.”

Masimba thanked Deyalsingh and the ministry for a prompt response, saying TUCO was now putting together some information required by the ministry.

“First of all, to get an immediate response like that: we are thankful to the minister for the timely response. That is important to us, because sometimes the administration of the Government takes a while to respond.

“We really appreciate the timely response and we are working along with the ministry to see how we can put things in place for something to happen.”

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