Deputy Mayor of Chaguanas, Marisa Ramlogan. (Image courtesy Deputy Mayor Marisa Ramlogan)

“Utilize under-used government facilities as vaccination centres.”

The call has come from Chaguanas’ Deputy Mayor, Marisa V. Ramlogan.

Speaking with Guardian Media on Thursday, Ramlogan said one way to speed up the COVID-19 vaccination process was to establish multiple vaccination centres throughout the country, especially in rural areas.

“We are seeing droves of people rushing to the various centres and creating crowds in small spaces and putting themselves at risk of contracting the COVID-19 virus,” The Deputy Mayor said.

“I am suggesting that the relevant authorities go into communities and use buildings as schools, temples, churches, mosques, and community centres, to get the vaccines to the people when the vaccines are here, if at all. In fact,” she points out, “they can even use the compound of the Chaguanas Borough Corporation. By getting the vaccines into the community, we may be able to see fewer persons crowding the facilities and more people being encouraged to take the vaccines.”

The Deputy Mayor observes the current appointment system has not been working as it should.

“We have to face reality—people are not going to venture far from their homes to get vaccinated because they fear contracting the disease. But taking the vaccines into the community would at least encourage more of them to come out. The appointment system clearly isn’t working when it comes to keeping the crowds down. So, what is needed is a system of community vaccination sites where appointments can also be made, and those who cannot make appointments would also be able to get the jab. The faster we can get towards creating herd immunity the faster we can return to some level of normalcy,” she advises.

Deputy Mayor Ramlogan also suggested that the authorities use many of the underused buses owned by COSTATT, YTEPP and other organisations as mobile vaccination clinics, to get the vaccine into rural communities.

 “Further to this, we also can seek the assistance of foreign governments to get mobile vaccination clinics,” she said.

She added: “There are many rural communities where the people may choose not to be vaccinated, and as such, mobile sites and extended clinics may serve as a system of further public education and undertake PCR testing, so we can know the real numbers [of COVID positive cases].”