The lines outside the Couva District Hospital at 6 am on Thursday June 10th. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Elderly and middle-aged persons wishing to take the COVID-19 vaccine had a hard time getting selected at public health facilities in Central Trinidad on Thursday June 10th.

Pensioners complained that the Health Centres were using a number system and only taking around 100 persons a day.

78-year-old Helen Helen Cassano said she recently had open heart surgery and was never called to take the vaccine.  Cassano, a resident of Carlsen Field, said the process was too much stress for her and she intended to put a mattress in front of the gates of the Freeport Health Centre and spend the night in order to get in the lines.

“When you WhatsApp them, nobody answers. So, I have to put a mattress there to sleep in order to get up early to get a number,” she said.

Other elderly persons walked with chairs, while others sat on existing infrastructure such as water lines and concrete culverts, until their number was called.

 “I saw on the news people brought their own chairs yesterday (Wednesday) and this was a good idea, because everything at the health centre operates in a flip-flop fashion.  Rain or sun we have to wait here and suffer,” one woman who walked with a chair lamented.

At Couva, the line started shortly after 5 am, and many persons complained that the elderly were being treated with scant courtesy.

Doolarchan Gopaul, 67, said the process has been tough on him.

“I feel I might dead in this line if I catch COVID,” he said.  “I was here yesterday, and I am here today again. This thing is ridiculous!”

“They tell you to come for the vaccine because you are old and when you here, you have to end up jostling for a number. Look my feet paining, I can’t do this thing every day,” he complained.

At the UTT Campus, senior citizens in Chaguanas were being allowed to enter and get their vaccinations without any appointments. Those taking the vaccine at UTT said the process went smoothly.