Caroni East MP Dr Rishad Seecheran,

Put in a National Vaccination Hotline!

That was the Opposition’s call yesterday following delays and frustrations being experienced by people attempting to register for COVID vaccines recently.

UNC MP Richad Seecheran spoke on the issue at yesterday’s UNC media briefing.

Seecheran, noting problems experienced by people seeking to register for vaccines, called for Government to employ jobless people and institute a National Vaccination Hotline and website for vaccination appointments.

He said some people were taking three days – and up to 24 calls– to get through to make appointments with the current system of calling Health Centres – a prohibitive process.

He noted the Health Ministry acknowledged problems. Seecheran cited reports of people lined up outside health centres to register including in the Prime Minister’s constituency. “Our elderly deserve better . We had enough time to see what other countries did,” he said.

He said there’ve also been complaints by some clinic out-patients that people who weren’t clinic patients, had no Non-Communicable Diseases and were under age 60 were “jumping the line.”

Seecheran said Government should administer all of the 33, 600 COVAX vaccines as a first shot since 40,000 more were coming from India on Monday .

He queried why media workers and Tobago House of Assembly members got the vaccine in Tobago since the vaccine was for frontline/health workers and the elderly with NCDs’ “ not PNM frontliners.”

UN MP David Lee also posed queries after Health Ministry’s Dr Avery Hinds spoke last Saturday on update of WHO guidelines.

Lee queried why Government took so long to reveal the change made in February.

He said if the Opposition’s boycott of Parliament last Friday hadn’t occurred, the situation might have never been explained. He noted T&T Guardian’s editorial stated Hinds was “forced” to speak on the matter .

Lee asked why the Chief Medical officer hadn’t spoken of it before. Lee said if WHO’s guidelines changed, if exemptions could change and whether returnees would still have to quarantine for 14 days.

Seeking to justify UNC’s boycott of Parliament last Friday, Seecheran reiterated UNC’s concerns about the period over which the Prime Minister might have had the virus and whom he might have contacted.

He said two churches closed because a priest came into contact with a person with the virus and EBC and Chaguanas Market also closed due to similar circumstances. He questioned why Parliament didn’t close.

Lee said while National Security Minister Stuart Young admitted taking a COVID test, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh hasn’t.

Lee said Government had called his name about sniffling recently. He said he suffered from sinus issues and did a COVID test at Medical Associates in February .

Noting PNM House Leader Camille Robinson- Regis call for him to take a test, he said , “ I can show my test results, I hope they can show theirs.”