Deyalsingh hopeful about higher covid19 vaccination rates

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

People wait in line to get their booster shot at the vaccination site at Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), San Fernando. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

HEALTH Minister Terrence Deyalsingh was happy to report an increase in the number of people being vaccinated against covid19, from the end of 2021 and continuing into this year.

Optimistic that public-sector workers are amongst those being vaccinated, he reiterated that additional sites have been made available for these workers to be vaccinated.

Deyalsingh was hopeful that 2022 will see 50 per cent and more of the population fully vaccinated against covid19.

He expressed his optimism on these issues at the virtual health news conference on Monday, the first for 2022.

“As I reported last week, there has been an uptick of first doses. We started to see figures like 1,400 per day, which is the two Pfizer, Sinopharm and J&J (Johnson & Johnson) (vaccines).

This lady is assisted as she completes her application form at the vaccination site at Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), San Fernando. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

“We are averaging now, since last week…1,400, 1,500, 1,600 per day. Those figures we have not seen since the middle of October (2021).”

While this is a good sign, Deyalsingh said, “We could do a lot better.”

He was unable to break this data down into public-sector workplaces and the covid19 vaccination status of workers there.

Asked about an instruction from the Police Social and Welfare Association for officers not to disclose their covid19 vaccination status to the police service, Deyalsingh said that question should be directed to the National Security Ministry for a reply.

For himself, he said, “The more people that get vaccinated, the happier I am that people just come out and get vaccinated. I am hoping that this uptick that we saw not only continues, but increases.”

He reiterated that the Government Campus Plaza in Port of Spain and two separate, dedicated lines at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando have been created for public-sector workers to be vaccinated.

“It is there for them. Come out and get vaccinated. That’s the main message that I can give you from the Ministry of Health.”

At a news conference at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s on December 18, 2021, the Prime Minister said public-sector workers who choose not to get vaccinated for non-medical reasons by mid-January will be furloughed without pay.

Up to December 31, Deyalsingh said 668,982 people are on their way to being fully vaccinated. He estimated this was 47.8 per cent of the population and hoped that if current vaccination trends continue, that figure will soon cross 50 per cent.

To date, 76,479 people have received covid19 boosters.

“These 76,000-odd persons now have the possible maximum level of immunity that can be provided by vaccination,” Deyalsingh said. “That is very good for them and I am very happy for that.”

Public servants register to be vaccinated at Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), San Fernando. Photo by Ayanna Kinsale

He urged people to follow the schedules being put out by the ministry, so they can get their booster shots on time. By Wednesday or Thursday, he said, “We will be rolling out the second monthly timetable for persons being boosted from Saturday, January 7.”

The current booster rollout ends later this week.

Deyasingh said people who may have missed their turn in the current rollout for different reasons can still receive their shots He said this is important because of the global spread of the omicron covid19 variant, now the dominant covid19 strain in many countries today.