With covid19 and the flu still circulating and the Carnival season in swing, many people were seen getting their covid19 vaccine boosters and influenza shots at the Starlite Shopping Plaza, Diego Martin on Saturday. When Newsday visited, the allotted space was filled, but the process seemed to be flowing smoothly.
After getting her booster, Katherine, who preferred to only give her first name, said she believes everyone should get it to protect themselves and those around them especially if they are more susceptible to "a detrimental outcome."
Katherine said, “I know probably about a dozen people who got covid19 over Christmas from people flying into the country and families getting together. So I have to be really cautious because I’m 61, so I’d prefer to get my booster.”
While keeping up on international and regional events surrounding covid19, she said, “The government should be ready to act.”
“The government should be doing enough research and they should take action before, not after. I think they should be informing the public right now that it’s possible they could put in restrictions. I think one of the problems at the moment is people are not reporting that they have covid19.”
She said now that people can take tests at home, they are not reporting their results to the Ministry of Health. She said this interferes with the statistics given to the public by the ministry.
“How can a country function? How are they actually knowing?”
She suggested that the ministry implements an online platform which allows people to report their results, so the ministry can accurately depict what needs to be in place to protect people.
Katherine also offered some advice and said, “I would urge all young people especially going to a Carnival fete, parties, gathering and you know you’re going to be with people coming to Trinidad for Carnival, you really need to get a booster to protect yourself. You’re not only going to protect yourself, you’re protecting other people.”
She added, while referring to protecting people at a higher risk of complications, “You don’t know who you may be passing it onto or who can get it and pass it on.”
A mother-and-daughter duo said they take their vaccinations seriously. Lez and Glenda (they also did not want to use their surnames) said they have noticed that since they got their shots, they haven’t had dire reactions to being affected by covid19 compared to those not vaccinated. Lez said she made sure to get her booster because she wants to be able to travel safely.
Glenda urged, “Wear your masks. I see them flying all over the place without their masks.”
Lez added, “Sometimes I don’t wear my mask, but if it’s crowded I put it on. Definitely if you’re going somewhere out of the country, you definitely need to have your vaccines. I’m not playing with that, I’ve seen how it works for people who do and don’t because I have family who don’t believe in it and they’re the ones who got sick.”
One man, Gerard, said he tries to follow the advice of the Health Ministry and so got his influenza vaccine on Saturday. He commended the ministry for making the process easy and convenient for him and others interested.
Dr Kam Pradi, who was at the vaccine site, said she saw more coming in for the influenza shot than the covid19 boosters, but still said the numbers were significant.
“It was around in the 70s for the influenza shot and in the 50s for the covid19 boosters.”
Jerome “Rome” Precilla, president of the TT Promoters’ Association, also weighed in on the matter and said, “We will advise promoters to have sanitisation stations upon entrance to the fete and throughout the fete that is what we can do to give people that ease of mind in terms of the spread of covid19. We do have those things in place where people will be able to get sanitiser if they want.”
He added, "I would still encourage people to go out and get their vaccines to protect themselves before they head out to the fetes.”
Pricilla said he would have loved to see majority of the population vaccinated, so people can enjoy themselves without being worried.