Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh has said his ministry will begin its accelerated vaccination drive on Thursday with the food and beverage sector.
Deyalsingh was speaking during the ministry’s virtual press conference on Wednesday. He said other sectors will also ramp up over time.
The same system of using the databases from different industries to identify interested participants will continue, he said.
“In the past we used the Manufacturing and Supermarket Associations…We are now deepening that with the food and beverage sector.”
He said groups including the Chamber of Commerce, churches, mosques, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have all agreed to contribute names of candidates to receive the vaccine.
“Trinidad and Tobago Association of Retired Persons (TTARP); the Red Cross; Ministry of Education, with 10,000 teachers; TT Retired Nurses Association (TTRNA), with 10,000 names; and the non-communicable diseases (NCD) Alliance – these are the databases we are using to reach out to people in a structured orderly, manner.”
He said walk-ins will not be accommodated at this time.
The 10,000 vaccines that Tobago asked for will be given from this first tranche.
TT received 800,000 doses – which will vaccinate 400,000 people – of the Sinopharm vaccine from China on Tuesday.
Deyalsingh said while the vaccines are not mandatory, they are the best chance to return to a place of normality.
“While everything is a choice, we ask people to make the right choice,” he said. “We want businesses to open, but the onus for management of this disease has now shifted from government-imposed positions, because now we have the vaccines, and if we vaccinate, some state of normalcy can be achieved.”
He also commended the Prime Minister on taking his first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine on Tuesday.
Deyalsingh said 371,987 shots – first and second doses – have been administered to date, with no fatalities in fully vaccinated people.
He said, however, the fatality count continues to rise.
“In one month, over 300 people died. That is the evidence people should be looking at to be vaccinated.”
Deyalsingh also presented data from the US that showed almost all US covid19 deaths as of June are now among people who are unvaccinated.