Trinidad and Tobago will receive another batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX facility by the end of next week.
In a release yesterday, the Ministry of Health said 33,600 doses of the vaccine are due to arrive before next Friday.
The ministry said this second batch from COVAX and the remaining doses from the batch donated by the Indian government will be held to guarantee a second dose to those who already got their first dose.
The ministry said up until Wednesday, 55,895 people were vaccinated.
It said it is hoping to have 60,000 people vaccinated in this first phase—which means about 4,105 people can still be vaccinated.
The ministry’s statement said 480 people have already received the second dose.
“Due to this recent positive development, the ministry will be winding down this stage of vaccine administration for first doses. Subsequent deliveries of the COVID-19 vaccine will be used to vaccinate other eligible members of the population,” the release stated.
Yesterday, Guardian Media visited all four of the country’s mass vaccination sites and found two – the UTT Campus in Charlieville, Chaguanas and the Paddock at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain — closed.
Dozens of people who showed up at the UTT campus in Charlieville with appointments to be vaccinated left disappointed.
They met closed gates and had trouble getting any information about whether the vaccination exercise was ongoing or if it would be restarted.
When they arrived, there were no security officers or staff present to tell them the facility was closed.
A security officer came out briefly to inform a small group of people with appointments that the site was closed.
A Guardian Media news team was present at that time.
The officer did not return to the gates to give information to anyone else who came after.
Frustrated and desperate, those people parked in their cars outside the locked gates waited.
One man and his elderly father had come from Tunapuna for their appointment, which had been set for 1 pm.
The man, who asked not to be identified, said that was his third visit to the site.
“We came on Tuesday, after being given an appointment at the St Joseph Health facility. When we got here, they said our names were not on the list,” he said.
He revisited St Joseph and was told it was an administrative error that would be corrected.
On Wednesday, he returned to the UTT campus but was again turned away.
Later that day, he was informed their appointment had been set for 1 pm yesterday.
“I know the health system is under some strain…but this is difficult for people to come over and over without getting through and now the site is closed,” he said.
He said he was hopeful his father would receive a vaccine, as he suffers from hypertension and diabetes.
At the St Joseph Health facility, a woman had a similar story.
She said she had visited the UTT campus yesterday morning and was turned away.
She did not have an appointment but as she listed her comorbidities, she became emotional.
“I’ve been in this line since before seven o’clock. When I reached up, they said I could not get the vaccine, they only had a few remaining. I left, I went back into my car, I cried out my eyes and I came back hoping there were one or two that I could get it,” she said.
She brought her bag of medication – for hypertension, diabetes and an autoimmune disease – to show to the doctors and nurses, hoping it would improve her chances of getting the vaccine.
She said she felt helpless being unable to get the vaccine. But she vowed not to give up, saying she would visit the sites where vaccines were available every day until she gets it.