There were significantly smaller crowds at vaccination sites in north Trinidad on Thursday, after the the national vaccination programme resumed on Wednesday.
Thursday saw the first attempt at using a new system for vaccinations.
But this too had its drawbacks, as doses were very limited.
Last week the Ministry of Health announced that people 60 and above and others with non-communicable diseases were eligible for the current round of vaccinations. The ministry also eliminated the appointment-only system and introduced a first-come-first-served method starting this week.
Many people thought any adult was eligible.
So after reports of large clusters and uncontrollable crowds of people hoping to get their first jab of the Sinopharm vaccine on the first day, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh quickly altered the system, using the first letters of recipients' surnames.
On Thursday only those with surnames starting with A-E were accommodated.
While there were no lines or overcrowding, many complained about arriving as early as 5 am but still being turned away, as they were surprised to hear vaccines for only 50 people were available.
When Newsday visited the Barataria, La Horquetta and St Joseph health centres, people were tricking in, unaware of the 50-vaccine limit.
Less than two minutes later they were seen leaving, disappointed.
One pensioner, who only wanted to be named Nigel, told Newsday at the St Joseph health centre,
“I was here since 5.20 am. You know how hard it is to hire a car from Maracas/St Joseph to come here just to be turned away?
“I am 70. This is madness with this 50-people system here,” he added.
When asked why he was still at the centre two hours later, he said, “I still hold on to see if I get through…This system could work, but they must have more vaccine.”
Nigel said he is concerned that he will go unvaccinated for another week during the continued spike in covid19 cases and deaths.
“We don’t know what could have between now and when they tell me to come back next week. All kind of 15-20 people dying (daily). I’m 70, and this is madness.”
Another man said he just passed in to see if the crowds were smaller on Thursday, to try his hand once again at getting his first shot of the vaccine.
Asked if he was over 60 or under 60 with anon-communicable disease, so that he would be eligible, he said no.
“When everybody done take, then I’ll take it…(You) can’t be rushing and stupid,” he said before leaving.
A woman said she too was shocked and disappointed when she was asked to return next week.
“My last name starts with C, I’m not sure what’s happening here. Ent they said A-E today?”
At the Barataria Health Centre, Newsday was told all 50 vaccines were administered before 8 am and the only people there were people waiting for clinic and other appointments.
Davlin Thomas, CEO of the North Central Regional Health Authority, and Ronald Tsoi-a-Fatt of the East Regional Health Authority told Newsday that that ministry had told RHAs to vaccinate 50 people daily at each site.
Tsoi-a-Fatt said he hadn’t received any reports of overcrowding.
Asked if the new vaccination limit is a temporary move, he said the ministry will update if any changes are to be made.
The ministry’s communication department and Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh could not be reached for comment.