Chief Sec troubled: Only 35% of TRHA fully vaxxed

Chief Secretary Farley Augustine   - Photo courtesy THA Department of Information
Chief Secretary Farley Augustine - Photo courtesy THA Department of Information

THA Chief Secretary Farley Augustine has described as “troubling” the fact that a minority of Tobago’s frontline healthcare workers – just over 30 per cent – have been vaccinated against covid19.

At the post executive council news conference on Wednesday, Augustine gave a breakdown of the statistics, thus far, of THA workers throughout the various divisions who have reported their vaccination status. The report was compiled by the office of the chief administrator, Bernadette Solomon-Koroma.

Augustine revealed that of the 1,171 employees who have reported their vaccination status in the Division of Health, Wellness and Social Protection, only 379 were fully vaccinated. He said the figure represents 32 per cent of the staff.

“But it gets more dire than that,” Augustine told reporters at the Calder Hall Administrative Complex.

“(At) the Tobago Regional Health Authority, the body that is responsible for the operations at our hospitals and major medical institutions on the island, where there are some 1,813 individuals reporting their status, only 638 of those are fully vaccinated, or represent a mere 35 per cent.”

Augustine, who is also the Secretary of Finance and the Economy, lamented the statistic.

“More than that, I find it troubling, when I look at our medical professionals and those that provide medical services on the island, that the percentage of those being vaccinated is well under 50 per cent, just over 30 per cent. I don’t think that is good enough at all.”

He said to date, only 6,429 THA employees have reported their vaccination status. Approximately 20,000 people are employed by the THA.

“Data is still rolling in and of the 6,429 that are reporting their vaccination status, only 40 per cent are fully vaccinated.

“So we are at a place where at this time, based on the data received through the chief administrator’s office, only 40 per cent of our employees are vaccinated. That are those that the THA pays.”


Augustine said it was against this backdrop that he rejected the Government’s plan to furlough all unvaccinated public servants.

During a news conference on Saturday, the Prime Minister announced that public servants have until February 17 to ensure they are vaccinated against covid19 to be able to work. He had previously given them a deadline of January 17.

Dr Rowley said Attorney General Faris Al-Rawi was finalising legislation for quasi-safe zones in the public sector.

On Wednesday, Augustine said given the relatively low vaccination statistics in Tobago, the Government’s plan to furlough unvaccinated public servants would be catastrophic.

He said he anticipated these low figures when he called for a different strategy than the one being proposed by central government.

"Well, it is evident that if we should do that in the TRHA we would have more than 60 per cent of the staff having to stay at home.

“Can you imagine going to the hospital and having more than 60 per cent of the staff not being present because they are unvaccinated? What will happen to the larger healthcare programme on the island?”

Augustine said he has asked Health Secretary Dr Faith BYisrael and the THRA to devise alternative strategies to increase vaccination levels among THA workers.

At the briefing, Augustine also revealed that an infectious disease control centre will be established at the old Scarborough Hospital, near Fort King George, “on or around” February 2 as part of the island’s thrust for a true parallel health care system to treat covid19 patients.

“We are expecting to have a parallel system up and running whereby all covid19-related treatment will occur for the most part up at the old hospital.”


"Chief Sec troubled: Only 35% of TRHA fully vaxxed"

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