Tobago will receive its first batch of COVID-19 vaccines on February 25 and health officials on the island say that there will be more than enough to provide for those illegible on the island.
It’s expected total 30,000.
The information came from General Manager of Primary Care of the Tobago Regional Health Authority Dr Roxanne Mitchell who made the announcement at the Division of Health Wellness and Family Development’s COVID-19 update press conference yesterday.
According to Dr Mitchell priority will be given to all “cadres of healthcare and frontline workers and persons over 18. Adults with pre-existing conditions and persons over 60 will also be given priority.”
She said distribution of the vaccine will take place at the Scarborough, Roxborough and Canaan health centres at a rate of 50 people per day in the initial stage.
The island has a capacity to store 30,000 vials of the vaccine which must be stored at 2-8 degrees Celsius. Each vial contains 10 doses.
“Our target population if you look at the groups for exemption, we have an adult population of 45,000 persons across the island that means at any point in time we are looking at 90,000 doses. We have set our maximum target with regards to the number of vaccines that will be rolled out eventually.”
The Primary Care Healthcare manager said a vaccination schedule will be posted followed by the rollout of the first and second dose of the vaccine fourteen days later. The distribution of the vaccine will be implemented by an electronically managed appointment system to ensure that persons receive both the first and second dose.
“We will send out pre-registration information so that persons may contact us vis text messages what app messages emails and phone calls in a bid to schedule appointments so that persons can receive the vaccine.”
She said like any other pre-existing vaccinations, systems will also be put in place to monitor for and treat with people who may experience side effects of the vaccine.
“After the first vaccine we will have persons waiting 20-30 minutes to see what whether or not they have had an acute reaction to the vaccine what we call immediate acute reaction any person who develops such reactions will be medically treated accordingly.”
She said the island’s medical staff is currently being retrained on proper vaccination and cold chain procedures to ensure optimal efficiency. Health officials on the island say they hope that there will be “public uptick of the vaccine so we can begin opening up socially and economically.”
According to Dr Mitchell people under the age of 18, pregnant women and persons living with HIV/AIDS will not be vaccinated.
As of February 15, Tobago has gone 19 days with no new COVID-19 cases and there are also no active cases on the island. The island recorded 155 positive cases and two deaths.