Vaccination drive still going strong on Wednesday

In this May 5 file photo, people wait for their names to be called outside the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts on in San Fernando. Photo by Marvin Hamilton
In this May 5 file photo, people wait for their names to be called outside the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts on in San Fernando. Photo by Marvin Hamilton

The vaccination drives at the North Central Health Authority and the Southwest Regional Health Authority continued to attract thousands of people on Wednesday after vaccination began again on Monday.

Over 2,000 people were vaccinated at the sites overseen by each RHA.

NCRHA CEO Davlin Thomas said 1,471 people were vaccinated on Tuesday, and he expected approximately the same number on Wednesday. He said there were people still showing up without appointments demanding the vaccine.

“At St Joseph, we had to emphasise there are criteria to be followed and that they have to make appointments.

"We have to deal with the most vulnerable people first, it’s not about your ability to go to a party. That’s one we’re hearing all the time, that they have to leave the country soon. So people’s reasons are not necessarily those more holistic community reasons.

"We’re dealing with appointments, so there’s less opportunity to slip someone in.

"We had a growing number of people who made appointments over the phone or WhatsApp who didn’t fit the criteria when they arrived.”

Thomas said complaints would have come from people who waited for hours hoping to get a vaccine, despite not having appointments.

“Another issue we’re having is ensuring we’re not creating congestion and opportunities for the virus to spread.

"At Monroe Road, we had to do similar crowd-control interventions and say we’re sticking to the appointment system. A lot of people eventually understood and we took their names, numbers, etc, and we basically set up appointments in the future for them.

"Not everybody was happy.”

SWRHA communications manager Kevon Gervais said people were turning out in droves and 1,052 people were vaccinated on Tuesday.

“People are sticking to their appointment times. We encourage them to stick to their appointment times as they will receive priority care and service at our vaccination sites.

"For those who were walking in and hoping to get an appointment, we encourage them to make an appointment, at which point they will be screened.”

The Health Minister had previously explained that during this phase, people over 60 without non-communicable diseases (NCDs) and those between 18 and 60 with NCDs, including asthma, are encouraged to make appointments.

Thomas said the public needed to realise that the staff they see during the day are also working into the night to ensure vaccinations go smoothly.

“The preparation in the night is the same people. We don’t have a magic wand or an obeah stick to conjure up people, the number of staff is what we have, and they are working day and night to prepare the place, engage, transfer vaccinations, prepare documentation, etc.

"So it’s no longer just a parallel system. Yes, it’s parallel to the traditional, but we have vaccinations going on, and then there’s care for covid19 patients, and then the quarantine sites.”


"Vaccination drive still going strong on Wednesday"

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