Persad-Bissessar: Deyalsingh must resign over vaccine rush

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar - Marvin Hamilton
Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar - Marvin Hamilton

Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar called for the resignation of Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

She said the gathering of large crowds at health centres across the country for covid19 vaccines on Wednesday is enough evidence of his mishandling of the vaccine rollout.

During debate on a matter of urgent public importance raised in the House of Representatives on the issue, Persad-Bissessar accused Deyalsingh of encouraging people to break state of Emergency laws and public health regulations through his calls to take advantage of the walk-in facility.

Referring to Deyalsingh's apology at Wednesday’s Ministry of Health's virtual covid19 media conference, Persad-Bissessar said it was not good enough and raised concerns over the possibility of a spike in covid19 cases.

"It is clear your apology today is proof you need to vacate this office.

"This state-sponsored super spreader event erupted into breaking the very law the government put into place on the invitation of the government. We're being told we have to come back tomorrow with a structure of people with surnames A to E being vaccinated tomorrow.

"Has the ministry done any due dilligence to determine how many people will fall in the letters A to E?"

Persad-Bissessar also asserted that given the opportunity, she would have been able to secure vaccines sooner and ensure a more streamlined rollout while managing the pandemic.

In response, Deyalsingh said while the situation where large crowds gathered at health centres was unfortunate, he maintained the government learned from its mistakes.

"We have always been following a careful vaccination plan.

“It was never a total call out. We were very clear in saying people over 60 (years) and people under 60 (years) with comorbidities.

"We don't expect the opposition to support the government, but be factual at least."

Deyalsingh admitted the situation at health centres was regrettable. He said discussions were held with the police to allow for more effective and orderly management of the vaccinations from Thursday.

He also reported that to better manage the distribution, people with last names beginning with the letters A to E will be eligible for vaccination on Thursday.

Responding to concerns over another mass turnout, Deyalsingh said those with last names beginning with those letters who did not receive the vaccine on Thursday would be able to receive their dose after five working days when their surnames would have rolled around.

He also hit back at the Opposition Leader over claims that she would have handled the distribution of vaccines better. He referred to her past remarks where she touted the use of malaria medication hydroxychloroquine and sunlight as a possible means of covid19 treatment.


"Persad-Bissessar: Deyalsingh must resign over vaccine rush"

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