Watson Duke, deputy chief secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly, announced on Friday he would get vaccinated against covid19 calling his decision “fascinating” and one that would “challenge the way you think.”
In a video, he said his children and wife had seen the “devastating effects” of covid19, and that they all had lost loved ones without getting the opportunity to say goodbye. As such, his wife and children told him they had to “do something.”
“Are we going to continue taking the recommended anti-covid medications or are we going to take the recommended vaccine? What are the side effects of those recommended covid treatments and what are the side effects of the vaccine?
“All would have side effects but one thing I’m certain of is that when you are in that room and your eyes are spinning around as you seeing 1,000 demons and you’re gasping for breath, one thing matters – your life. And what you would have done differently is the question that comes to mind.”
He said his wife and children wanted to get vaccinated so he decided to as well.
Previously, Duke said he would not get vaccinated until one of the vaccines were “legitimised, approved or licensed” but stressed whether to get vaccinated or not should not be mandatory but should be a choice.
In July 2021, during an interview with a US radio station which was carried live on his Facebook page, he said he believed the vaccines were killing people.
“A vaccine authorised for emergency use is simply a vaccine that must be used in emergency circumstances. Up until the time that it has been licensed, it is undergoing clinical trials.”
As recently as October, during a Progressive Democratic Patriots meeting, Duke, the political leader, said he would only take the “real vaccine” which would allow him to remove his mask and “laugh in a boy face, ha ha!”
When informed about Duke’s video at the virtual covid19 press conference on Saturday, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh expressed shock that Duke said he would get vaccinated, before recovering and making a statement.
“I am quite happy that Mr Duke has come around. As I said, in this tug-of-war with the virus we need everyone. It’s not a government thing. We need everyone to pull in the same direction. And if Mr Watson Duke, belatedly, is going to pull with Trinidad and Tobago, then I welcome it.”
He urged others in leadership positions who were “carrying a different message” to join with the government and influence their followers to get vaccinated.