Former secretary and PNM member Aldington Spencer, and businesswoman Kaye Trotman, assist former PNM member and THA secretary Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus, as she cuts the ribbon to formally open IDA's headquarters in Scarborough, on August 18th. (Image: CAMILLE McEACHNIE)

Dr Denise Tsoiafatt-Angus of the Innovative Democratic Alliance (IDA) advises parents to educate themselves about the COVID-19 Pfizer vaccine.

She was responding to a question on vaccinating the nation’s children on August 18th, during a ceremony to bless the IDA’s headquarters at the E&M building, Scarborough.

“In any pandemic, you have to be able to educate, educate, educate. There is no way to force views upon people because then you get into human rights discussions. I think it is very important that we continue to educate the people sufficiently, so they can then be moved internally and be influenced by their own thoughts to process further with their vaccinations,” she said.

She said parents should be comfortable about deciding to vaccinate their children.

“Parents have to get to a place where they decide to vaccinate or not vaccine their children, but that only comes through education,” Dr Tsoiafatt-Angus said.

Asked what she thinks about mandatory vaccinations, she replied: “It has to be a personal choice… Education is the way to help people to get to that point of acceptance.”

Tsoitfatt-Angus, a medical doctor, said at first, she struggled with getting the COVID vaccine.

However, she revealed she took it after educating herself on the matter.

“At one point, I told myself that the benefits outweigh the risk that I see out there,” she said.

Children in Trinidad between the ages of 12-18 years began getting their vaccines on August 18th. However, the vaccination rollout in Tobago has been rescheduled to tomorrow, Friday July 19th.

A release from the Division of Health, Wellness, and Family Development (DHWFD) explained the delay.

“Some of the accompanying materials for the Pfizer vaccine, such as the saline solution and needles, did not arrive on the island yesterday [August 17th] as planned. The scheduled ferry sailing, on which the material was due to arrive, was cancelled yesterday,” the release explained.

The vaccine rollout is expected to begin for children from Bishop’s High School and Speyside High School.

Signal Hill Secondary and Pentecostal Light and Life Foundation schools’ children are scheduled for vaccination on August 20th.

Vaccination continues on Monday, August 23rd, at the Scarborough Secondary School, Harmons SDA, and Goodwood High School.