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Tobago House of Assembly Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine receives her COVID-19 vaccine from nurse Kathy Ann Greenidge-Ottley at the Scarborough Health Centre in Bacolet, Tobago, yesterday. Davidson-Celestine stepped in to replace Dr Keith Rowley, who could not take his scheduled jab after contracting the disease.

Loyse Vincent

Tobago House of Assembly Secretary of Health Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine is hoping Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will become an advocate for the Ministry of Health and the division in its fight against COVID-19, now that he himself has fallen victim to the disease.

Davidson-Celestine made the comment yesterday after stepping into Rowley’s place to take a vaccine as the national vaccination rollout plan was launched, after the Prime Minister fell ill on Monday and tested positive for the disease yesterday.

“I’m really hoping that sometime in the near future, the Prime Minister would be an ambassador for Division and also the Ministry of Health at some point in time. He could indicate his feelings from a person who would have contracted COVID,” Davidson-Celestine said as she took the AstraZeneca jab at the Scarborough Health Centre.

While Davidson-Celestine said the Prime Minister “was in the capable hands of medical staff here on the island,” she did not specify where he was being cared for while in quarantine.

The Health Secretary also said she had not met with Rowley during the course of the Easter weekend. She wished him a speedy recovery, noting that everyone is at risk and no one is exempt and it was unfortunate that some persons have chosen to ignore the warnings.

“COVID-19 does not discriminate and the important things is that we go out there and get vaccinated in order to preserve our lives, which is what we are trying to achieve,” she said.

Moments before being administered the shot, the Health Secretary openly admitted that she was “nervous.”

While admitting there are many conspiracy theories out there, Davidson-Celestine said “more persons have died from the COVID-19 when compared to the number of persons who have taken the vaccine.”

However, she said she understood the importance of being vaccinated, adding that the resumption of normal activities such as “Carnival, harvest festivals, large weddings and even the reopening of school is heavily reliant on persons taking the vaccine.”

Hours before news of the Prime Minister contracting the disease had broken, THA Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis announced that he was going into quarantine as he was “exposed to a primary contact of a recent COVID-19 case.”

The release said he was subsequently tested and received a negative result but THA officials assured Dennis’ case was not related to Rowley’s positive test.

Davidson-Celestine said she was unable to say if any other Secretary would need to be quarantined at this time.

Meanwhile, Tobago Regional Health Authority General Manager Primary Care Dr Roxanne Mitchell said they had a target of 150 persons being vaccinated daily at the three centres in Roxborough, Scarborough and Canaan. To date, 113 medical practitioners in Tobago have received the full dose of the vaccines and 1,550 persons have registered to get the vaccines on the island.