With 1053 citizens receiving the COVID-19 vaccine yesterday, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh proclaimed the first day of the vaccine rollout as a bigger success than he had hoped for.
“I am really, really pleased about that,” Deyalsingh said at the St Joseph Enhanced Health Centre in Champs Fleur, “What it means is that the level of vaccine acceptance amongst the general public is high and that is very good, it means we have an intelligent population that believes in science and trusts the vaccine,” the Minister added.
Guardian Media approached one elderly woman who was registering for the vaccine in a white tent on the health centre’s compound who expressed her willingness to be inoculated, “I could get the vaccine like yesterday!”
Deyalsingh was amongst that aforementioned statistic. He received his first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine at around 2:30 pm yesterday. After receiving the injection, Minister Deyalsingh stood up and declared, “I’m feeling stronger! I’m feeling faster!”
Going forward Deyalsingh said the Government will be looking to expand its vaccination drive.
“Under the NWRHA we will be bringing on three more sites within the next seven to ten days, the reason we could not bring on more before is that many of the health centres within the city were just not sufficiently spaced in terms of floor area, but we are looking at other sites because we noticed people within and around Port-of -Spain need more access for the vaccines.”
The Minister also announced some preliminary information on the Government’s mass vaccination plan.
“I will be coming to the media again in two weeks to share those plans, we intend to double and triple the number of vaccination sites in the next two to three weeks to a month, the target of a thousand a day is just an initial target.”
But one person who will not be getting the vaccine anytime soon is Prime Minister Dr Kieth Rowley who yesterday announced that he had contracted the virus via a release from the Office of the Prime Minister.
Minister Deyalsingh was questioned at his press conference yesterday on issues surrounding contact tracing, the whereabouts of the Prime Minister and even where he would have contracted the virus, however, the Minister could not give any details, only suggesting that citizens get their information from the Office of the Prime Minister when it becomes available.
However, he did respond to Guardian Media’s questions surrounding allegations from members of the public who on social media accused Dr Rowley of pretending to have COVID-19 as an excuse to avoid vaccination.
“That is absolute old talk, the Prime Minister is a very upright and straightforward person and as the press release said he has contracted COVID-19 and when you contract it and you have any flu-like symptoms, you cannot take the vaccine.”