PM: Tobago could have achieved herd immunity

Dr Keith Rowley - File photo/Sureash Cholai
Dr Keith Rowley - File photo/Sureash Cholai

The Prime Minister says if there had been co-operation from the people on the island, Tobago could have already achieved herd immunity.

Speaking during a news conference at the Prime Minister’s official residence in Blenheim on Friday, Rowley said those on the island are feeding the virus by not following the health protocols and refusing to be vaccinated.

“Of course, I am worried about our citizens, and it is one of the main worries that I have. My concern is that there are so many people in Tobago who decide to take on the virus, ride it out, not use the help given by the vaccine, and I must say I’m a little disappointed by that.”

The vaccines, he said, are available but he cannot force people to take them.

“They determined that the vaccine has some mark that will appear in them, and they will then be denied at the pearly gates,” he said.

He said Tobago’s population of 60,000 people had the possibility to isolate the virus.

“We had to have a high level of vaccination and it was relatively easy if there was the personal responsibility and personal co-operation – it would have been relatively easy to vaccinate everybody in Tobago. But it just so happens that a significant number of people in Tobago decide that they don’t want the vaccine and will not be vaccinated, and that stymied this hope and expectations that we could have had in Tobago a population that was able to demonstrate herd immunity 90-odd per cent vaccination.

"We got the vaccines, we ran the programmes, we have the staff and people just decided they want to run the gauntlet with the virus.”

He said there were enough vaccines for everyone.

“I made sure, as Prime Minister running this response from the management team, to make sure that at all times there were enough vaccines in Tobago for everyone who wanted to be vaccinated, even when vaccines were scarce.

"We have 20,000 people vaccinated and that gives us some relief, but not as much as we could have had.”

He said the government’s response cannot be to lock the country down.

He said it was anticipated somewhere along the way the delta variant would have made its way into Trinidad and Tobago, and once it did as it has, the outcome was an easier rate of infection and that is why there has always been the encouragement to get vaccinated.

On Saturday, the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development reported that the island’s active covid19 cases had risen to 826 after 42 new cases emerged overnight.

The island’s covid19 death toll stands at 129,  after the death of a 56-year-old man with comorbidities.

There are now 48 patients in state isolation, 771 in home isolation, seven in the intensive care unit and three patients have been discharged.

The division said to date, a total of 19,426 people have been tested for covid19 in Tobago, with 4,334 testing positive. There are 3,379 recovered patients.

To date, a total of 23,288 people in Tobago have been partially vaccinated and 22,358 are fully vaccinated.


"PM: Tobago could have achieved herd immunity"

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