Cudjoe laments Tobago’s vaccine hesitancy

Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe. Photo by David Reid
Tobago West MP Shamfa Cudjoe. Photo by David Reid

MP for Tobago West and Minister of Sport and Community Development Shamfa Cudjoe is imploring Tobagonians to go out and get vaccinated against covid19.

She expressed concern on Friday that they were not taking the virus seriously enough.

Cudjoe made the appeal as she addressed the National Commission for Self Help grant distribution ceremony at the Calder Hall Multi-Purpose Community Centre in Calder Hall, Scarborough. Seventy-five families received $1,125,000 in funding.

She said safety and security in one’s home doesn’t end and start with preparing an extra room.

She said she has been walking Tobago West, literally going from house to house.

“We said to our colleagues in the Cabinet last week, our situation in Tobago is not the same as in Trinidad. So whilst our colleagues in Trinidad are treating with access to vaccines, that was their major concern.

"Our problem in Tobago, when we walk from door to door, we’re having people who are just hesitant. They’re saying, 'I am not getting vaccinated; my children are not going to be getting the vaccine.' They don’t care to be educated about it, they don’t care to know.”

She described the situation as “very serious.”

“In this time of covid19, looking at what we know, looking at the education that is being provided whether it is through our press conferences each day or looking at what is taking place throughout the world, this covid19 situation is a very serious one and some of us are underestimating, or overestimating our immune system.”

She said as a citizen, one has a right to protect oneself, but also a responsibility to “do what is in the best interest of you and your family.

“My advice to you, to each and every one of you is to get vaccinated.

“The vaccines are now available. I encourage every Tobagonian to get out there and get vaccinated. I cannot call on you enough – there are those who are saying, 'This covid19 situation is just a cold.'

"It cannot be – 4.4 million people around the world dead. Here in TT, our count is over 1,200 people dead as a result of covid19. Many of us know somebody who has been affected or died from this whole covid19 situation. We know more people who have died as a result of not taking the vaccine than those who have died based on your allegations.”

She said it was a matter of looking at the facts and the science and "being enlightened about what is truly taking place.”

She said her constituency office recently came in contact with the virus by people who are not being forthright about their status.

“These people who are supposed to be at home on quarantine and are out there moving about and putting other people at risk – covid19 is not your basic cold. For you to get up and go out there, knowing very well you have covid19, coming and interact(ing) with people, it is selfish – I could say it is even wicked.

"If you know you are covid19-positive, and you should be at home quarantining – stay at home, protect yourself and protect others.”

She said people were also not being honest about where they had been, so that the necessary contact tracing could be done.

"Tobagonians, you have a responsibility. This covid19 situation is not a joke,” she warned

The government’s intention to extend the current state of emergency was made public on Thursday, when the Parliament published the order paper for next Wednesday’s sitting of the House of Representatives, in which the Prime Minister is expected to pilot the motion.

“I don’t want the curfew to be extended," Cudjoe said. "Many people who have things to do and want to get back to normal don’t want the curfew extended.

"But right now it's not about what we want, it's about what has to be done so that we can get more people on board, more people vaccinated. It would be a selfish and unwise thing to open up the country knowing that so many of you are not vaccinated.

"So we have to continue to do our part, pull our weight and encourage more and more people to go out there and get vaccinated.”


"Cudjoe laments Tobago’s vaccine hesitancy"

More in this section