The praise heaped on Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for this country’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was well deserved.
After the first case of the virus was detected in T&T, Dr Rowley proved that he had a firm grip on the reins of leadership as he veered this country away from what could have been a path of chaos and confusion, that many other countries faced.
Almost a year later and the Prime Minister’s commandeering of the COVID-19 situation continues to be admired, now it is being done on the world stage.
While some of his decisions have been criticised by some, as is to be expected, Dr Rowley’s move to close schools to prevent a spread among children and the provision of grants to citizens economically impacted have proven that guidance, a good one at that, often determines the outcome of a worrying situation.
On Wednesday, this country entered an historic phase in the management of the coronavirus, as frontline healthcare workers received the first jabs of the vaccine gifted to this country by Barbados.
However, amid the glimmers of hope lies several grey areas as it relates to when this country will receive its own supply of the very much in demand AstraZeneca vaccine.
Only on Friday in Parliament, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh revealed that come February 25, this country would be told by the WHO exactly when it will receive the vaccines through the COVAX facility.
Rewind to January 31, when the minister announced this country would receive the AstraZeneca vaccines, not the Pfizer or Moderna as citizens were previously told, he stated they would be here at the end of February or the first week in March.
But now the population is being told it will soon get a definitive date.
For some, it may seem like much ado about nothing as it pertains to the exact date, but we must understand the need for clear and precise information with regards to something that not only prevents the spread of the virus but represents hope to the country that this dark period is coming to an end.
This newspaper has asked before about the government’s vaccination plan.
And while the government insists there is one, the flip-flopping with dates and the gaffe by the Health Minister over the origins of the 2,000 doses, do very little to help at this critical time to engender public trust.
Some citizens are looking on jealously at neighbouring Caribbean countries like Barbados, Dominica and St Lucia smoothly rollout their vaccination plans.
There is no doubt Trinidad and Tobago will get its vaccines, but the mixed messages regarding the when’s and the how’s must come to an end.
The nation is eagerly awaiting a turning point in the COVID-19 fight locally.
All the population requires are transparent and unwavering answers about the vaccination plan so it can put a full stop to this COVID nightmare.