PRESIDENT of the TT Manufacturing Association (TTMA) Tricia Coosal said there has been an overwhelming response by the sector to get vaccinated for covid19 as over 2,500 members received their first dose on Sunday.
Given Government’s invitation to partner with the private sector, including the TTMA, to roll out the mass vaccine exercise, Coosal said there was a flood of requests from members and their employees far exceeding the 5,000 doses allotted to manufacturers.
The TTMA is lobbying for additional doses.
Coosal said she was heartened TTMA was the first private entity to partner in this important initiative which began at the Divali Nagar site, Chaguanas, on Sunday morning.
She said it augured well for the sector and the economy and demonstrated Government’s understanding of the need to preserve lives and, in turn, livelihood would be eventually accelerated and the economy would once again become buoyant.
“We believe we are the lifeblood of the economy and we need to sustain livelihood while saving lives, this is why we lobbied for the vaccine.”
Coosal spoke to the media at the vaccination site, together with TT Medical Association president Dr Vishi Y Beharry and Revan Teelucksingh president of SEWA International TT, as they led Government Ministers of Health Terrance Deyalsingh and Trade Paula Gopee-Scoon, on a tour of the facility and to observe how the process was being managed.
Gopee-Scoon encouraged all members from the sector who are still reluctant, to get vaccinated if they are to reach their goal of growing the sector by 50 per cent by 2025.
“We are pleased by the operations we are seeing here today. This tells us although the manufacturing sector is up and running, in terms of those who manufacture food and beverage, it is time to move one step further so we have the non-energy and non-essential manufacturers up and running and exporting.
“The only way to do that is to get everybody vaccinated. Ensure you are safe, your co-workers are safe, you communities are safe, you homes are safe and we will get the economy turning again.
Deyalsingh thanked the TTMA and line Minister Gopee-Scoon for accepting the challenge and setting up the site in quick time.
He said it is important to the Government to get the private sector and the vulnerable sectors that are important to the economy, vaccinated so they can operate.
“The sectors we are targeting are, the manufacturing, construction, private security, food and beverage sectors, in the first instance.
“That way we can in the shortest possible space of time have those sectors back up, employees earning and income, putting food on their tables, paying their rents and have these industries contribute to the national economy.
“We want to get back to an open economy as soon as possible.”
At the time, 2,500 vaccines were expected to be administered at the site which is to be kept open for use by other sectors.
Later, TTMA CEO Ramesh Ramdeen told Newsday that a staggering 2,697 vaccine doses had been put into arms that day.
Deyalsingh commended Teelucksingh and Beharry for not only improving the Ministry of Health template for the impressive site, but for providing over 80 volunteers including vets, dentists, nurses, doctors from interns straight up to consultants and general surgeons who all came out on their day off.
“Volunteers are here without an expectation of being vaccinated themselves. We understand the limit and how it works. Phenomenal respect to the volunteers,” Teelucksingh said.
Beharry said they are now well seasoned, having assisted in setting up mass vaccine sites at the Paddock and at SAPA and now at the Divali Nagar site.