Vaccine system’s recurring infection

Prime Minister Dr Rowley - Angelo Marcelle
Prime Minister Dr Rowley - Angelo Marcelle

IT HAS been another terrible week for many citizens at the mercy of Government’s vaccination programme and we are constrained to return to this issue yet again.

Notwithstanding an apology from the Prime Minister for last week’s events, the week began ominously with a serious communications blunder, this time by the Ministry of National Security no less.

On Sunday, the ministry issued, retracted, then reissued a media release confirming a shipment of Pfizer vaccines – which carry a 95 per cent efficacy rate – to this country.

Whether the shipment was large or small, this was an historic development.

The failure of the State to properly account for this gift from the US raises serious questions which to date have not been fully answered.

In a two-line press release, the ministry stated the vials were “for use by national security” which was a vague formulation. It is also at odds with the fact that law enforcement officials should have already been vaccinated.

If we take the State at its word – and that requires much faith since the cry of “national security” is used by governments the world over to conceal or withhold information – and accept full disclosure may harm some undefined interest, it is equally the case that failure to answer on this issue has so damaged the credibility of the State, it is actually inimical to the vaccination effort as a whole.

Scenes of some elderly people being made to line up outside health facilities, some in the rain sheltering under umbrellas, continued this week.

It is tempting to wonder if there is not only a parallel healthcare system, but also a parallel vaccination system in which some people are being facilitated thanks to vaccination by stealth US shipment, or by the luck of the draw.

With such clouds and questions looming, the Prime Minister poured more fuel to the flames by failing to attend Prime Minister’s Questions in Parliament on Wednesday. Further, not a single pertinent Cabinet member attended any of the Health Ministry’s briefings this week.

These briefings are normally a revolving door for such ministers: every significant portfolio has eagerly appeared in the past.

If the State has decided to change its tact and allow public servants to bear the brunt of responsibility for its decisions from now on, it is misguided in doing so.

While Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh replied to questions in Parliament this week, that forum is notoriously limited in its scope given rules and procedures there. Indeed, the Government last week arguably made full use of those rules to deflect scrutiny through deferrals, filibustering and the citing of vague legalities during Question Time.

The abrupt cancellation of this weekend’s vaccination appointments without any reason being stated continued the commess, raising even more questions about co-ordination and planning.

What is clear: the system remains badly infected.

Prime Minister Dr Rowley


"Vaccine system’s recurring infection"

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