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Dr Faith B-Yisrael

The Progressive Democratic Patriots (PDP) is appealing to the Government to rethink the delivery of its messages on COVID-19.

The PDP’s alternative Health Secretary Dr Faith B Yisrael said the messages should be tailored to individuals and groups and not necessarily technically inclined people.

Using an elderly person as an example of how tailored messages could work, she said her mother was only willing to take the COVID vaccine after realising her friends abroad were returning to in-person church services because they had taken the jab.

“I think we need to do one critical thing: reshape our messaging. Individuals are now getting the message. They are now understanding, particularly during this last drive to get people vaccinated. We have a lot of individuals who are sceptics. We need to target them.”

Dr Yisrael, who has a Masters Degree and Doctorate in Public Health from the University of Pittsburgh, said the Government should find out peoples’ fears about taking the vaccines.

She said the information should be used to adjust the messages and share the information that will not result in COVID information burnout.

Addressing other COVID issues, Dr Yisrael said the Tobago Regional Health Authority should have bought PCR machines to test for COVID-19 in Tobago. She said not having the machines put Tobagonians at a disadvantage because they will have to wait longer for results from Trinidad, if the Trinidad labs are overwhelmed.

At a recent Tobago Health update media briefing, health officials say there is a PCR machine in Tobago. However, the machine’s test kits are in short supply, so tests are conducted only in cases of emergencies.

Discussing Tobago’s political climate with the six/six Tobago House of Assembly impasse, host Grey asked Dr Yisrael, whether it was negatively impacting Tobago’s response to COVID.

The PDP’s area representative for Belle Garden/Goodwood said PDP supporters did not have full access to COVID relief.

“The situation is affecting us tremendously. This means half of the duly elected assemblymen are standing on the outside of the Executive and are unable to provide resources and services to those who voted for us,” the Assemblyman said.