Deputy Political Leader of the United National Congress (UNC) David Lee said that Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will not be allowed to get away with just an apology for the vaccine fiasco last Wednesday.
Wednesday was the first day of the walk-in vaccine rollout but hundreds of people turned up and had to be turned away. The Minister of Health apologised and the Government instated an alphabetical surname approach instead.
That too turned out poorly because as hundreds turned up again, they only then learned that only 50 to 60 shots were being distributed per health centre.
On Saturday the Prime Minister apologised for the Wednesday debacle, calling it “one bad day”.
“The Prime Minister is not getting away so easily,” Lee said at the UNC press conference yesterday.
“I want to let him know that the Opposition and the country will not let him get away with that apology. What is one bad day?” Lee asked.
“One bad day in normal people lives is when you in your car and you get a flat tyre and you change that tyre and you get another flat tyre,” Lee said.
“But what we had and witnessed on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday of this week could never be called a bad day, what we witnessed was a fiasco,” he said.
Lee said the Government was “experimenting on the elderly”.
“It could never be that the Prime Minister could come and apologise and tell this country that it was having a bad day,” he said.
Member of Parliament for Fyzbad and shadow health minister Dr Lackram Bodeo also condemned the rollout.
On Saturday the Prime Minister said that the country did not have the number of vaccines needed to complete a mass rollout.
“Unfortunately T&T experienced a bizarre week,” he said.
Bodoe said that in addition to 79 deaths this week, there were some Government blunders that could put more lives at risk.
Bodoe said the Government had a long time, almost one year to prepare for this rollout, yet in trying to explain the Government’s misstep, the Prime Minister had to admit that it was not equipped to handle a mass rollout.
“And therefore that experiment of trying to do too much with too little could only have failed and it has failed,” he said.
“This speaks volumes for how this Government operating in this COVID-19 crisis,” he said.
Bodoe said that every time the Opposition asked about the preparations for the vaccine rollout, they were told that the Government had everything under control.
“Last week showed clearly that this was not the case,” he said.
Bodoe said that the Government invited “all and sundry” to get the vaccine and then appeared shocked by the numbers that turned up.
“Some have termed this strategy on Wednesday as a “bluff and blame” strategy, “ he said, asking if the Government was trying to find some way to blame the population for turning out.
“We cannot blame citizens for lining up to get a vaccine when there are so many deaths from COVID-19 on a daily basis and so few vaccines,” Bodoe said.
He also called for more details of the deaths from COVID taking place at homes and not in the State health care facilities.