An elderly man sits on the roadway as he waits in line outside the Barataria Health Centre hoping to get COVID-19 vaccine, on Wednesday.

The chairman of a home for the aged in San Fernando is disappointed with the treatment being meted out to senior citizens seeking to be vaccinated.

Dr Allan McKenzie, the chairman of the JC McDonald Home for the Aged said, “They should set up a special committee to work that out some feasible, humane acceptable system,” suggested McKenzie during a telephone interview yesterday.

McKenzie who has been chairman of the home for the last 25 years lamented that many elderly people need assistance to stand or walk and are sickly, but yet they are forced to stand for a long time outside various health centres to get the vaccine.

He said he did not accept Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh’s apology for the chaotic situation on Wednesday.

“An apology really is not good enough when there might have been alternatives that they could have looked at.”

Noting that senior citizens would have suffered social, psychological and mental trauma, he said. “It did not seem to have much social distancing from the pictures I saw in the press so we don’t know to what extent the spread of COVID-19 might have been facilitated by the disorganised cluster of people waiting to be vaccinated by a not clearly thought-out invitation to just come in and get vaccinated.” While Minister Deyalsingh said last month that 1,000 Sinopharm vaccines were allocated for senior citizens’ homes, Mc Kenzie said none of the 15 residents at the JC Mc Donald home in San Fernando has been inoculated.

“I thought that the minister had said that they had allocated a certain number of vaccines for these homes and that the elderly people would get priority because they are more susceptible, I would consider myself one of the elderly persons in the country, but we are realising we have been waiting for quite some time. We are all ready to receive the vaccine.”

Since the virus surfaced in this country, Mc Kenzie said the home has not had a single case of COVID-19 because they instituted a strict lockdown policy and public health measures at the home.

But he said it is time for vaccinations to begin.

“While we thought vaccination at the homes was imminent now we see we have to wait a lil while longer for more vaccines to come and so on and I find that is really unsatisfactory. We have them ready, we got a doctor to come in and check them out and make sure they are ready to receive the vaccines and I think they should have been given some priority.”

If the vaccines are available, he said the ministry should administer the vaccines to residents at the homes as soon as possible. Deyalsingh had said that 700 of the vaccines allocated to senior citizens homes were administered.

There are 180 homes registered with the T&T Residential Care Association with about 570 caregivers and approximately 4,000 elderly people.