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Members of the public wait in line to get the COVID019 vaccine at SAPA, San Fernando, yesterday.

Radhica De Silva

Despite torrential rains, hundreds of people came out at the mass vaccination site in San Fernando–Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), to get COVID-19 vaccinations yesterday.

And as vaccines continue to dwindle, officials of the South West Regional Health Authority (SWRHA) confirmed that they had enough to do another day of vaccinations today.

With the high transmissibility of the virus exacerbated by the Brazilian variant, many people interviewed yesterday expressed relief that they had received their vaccinations.

Among them was Kirti Bala Bhika, an Indian national, who has been living in Trinidad for the past 50 years and her sister Chandan Gowrie Parik, who was left stranded in T&T after coming here last year to attend a wedding.

Bhika said they made appointments and were called in to come for vaccinations at 11 am.

She said with the COVID-19 crisis in the land of her birth, she felt fortunate to get her vaccines.

“India has bad conditions. Everyone feeling sorry for India. I pray for God because this thing is very ugly,” Bhika said. She explained that her sister came to Trinidad last year to attend a wedding but was stranded after the lockdown.

Parik has to get vaccinated before she could return to her residence in England.

Meanwhile, 81-year-old Harold Premchand also said he felt good to be vaccinated. He was wheeled into the vaccination site in a wheelchair. Others hobbled using walkers and crutches.

Premchand’s caretaker Vidya Surujbally-Jankie said she was hoping to get vaccinated.

She said she made an appointment three days ago but was yet to receive a response.

“I was a bit afraid to take it but then I realized that I have no choice because of the number of people who are getting it,” Surujbally-Jankie said. Pollard Scipio said he had an appointment earlier this week and was amazed when he got the call to come for his vaccine.

Teams from the South West Regional Health Authority have been vaccinating an average of 500 people per day but since Tuesday, all walk-in clients have been turned away.

People, who are now making appointments, are being given dates in the last two weeks of May. Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh announced on Thursday that 33,600 doses of the Astra-Zeneca vaccines will arrive in T&T on May 14. A total of 1,041 people were vaccinated at the ten centres in San Fernando.

↔—RADHICA DE SILVA