Tobagonians urged to get vaccinated as cases rise

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 Frankie James receives his first Sinopharm jab from nurse Denise Nelson at the drive-through vaccination site in Shaw Park, Tobago on Saturday. - Photo by David Reid
Frankie James receives his first Sinopharm jab from nurse Denise Nelson at the drive-through vaccination site in Shaw Park, Tobago on Saturday. – Photo by David Reid

Kinnesha George-Harry

THA Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine is appealing for citizens in Tobago to be vaccinated.

Davidson-Celestine made the appeal as she was speaking to members of the media during day one of the island’s first-ever week-long vaccination drive-through on Saturday at the Shaw Park Cultural Complex carpark in Scarborough.

She said: “This is one of the pathways in which we can manage the spread of the virus and most importantly, to ensure that if it is that any of our residents on the island contract covid19, that there are no significant or severe consequences going forward. My expressions are of course in keeping with the research internationally and every time I have the opportunity to speak, I would reference countries like the United States of America and even the United Kingdom where they too are seeing improvements in terms of those persons who are vaccinated.”

She added: “From the Division of Health, we have been providing our people with the information so that they can make the proper decisions. At this point, it is about getting your vaccines.”

By midday, she said approximately 300 people had received their first jabs already as 500 people were targeted. The initiative, a public-private sector partnership, she said makes it easy for members of the public to stay inside their vehicles and get the vaccine with minimal waiting time. The drive-through jabs will run daily continuing until August 6 and no appointment is necessary.

She said if the demands increase, then her division together with the TRHA will respond to ensure that the facility is continued.

“This is just one aspect – there would be three arrangements; one where people can come in via appointments if they wish, persons can walk in and then of course; the other where persons can drive in – so we are realising those three aspects of the vaccination exercise.”

The drive-through programme was made possible through NGC as well as medical practitioners from the Medical Association based in Tobago, as well as the Office of the Chief Secretary through the Tobago Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) and the Shaw Park Cultural Complex Facility. “What we have here is a conglomerate from both the private sector as well as the public sector and I want to commend and congratulate all of them.”

Earlier, the THA Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development reported there are 35 new covid19 cases on the island and 431 active cases. The island’s covid19 death toll has risen to 43 after a 98-year-old woman with comorbidities. It said 43 people are in state isolation, 382 in home isolation and six in ICU. To date, 10,319 people have been tested for covid19 in Tobago. Of that number, 1,464 tested positive. There are 990 recovered patients. The division said to date 13,285 people have received their first dose of the vaccine while 9,733 have been fully vaccinated.

The deaths, according to Davidson-Celestine, is of grave concern.

“Based on the information coming to me from the medical practitioners, all those persons who have died to date are persons who are unvaccinated – I am preaching to the members of the public that the only way that we can prevent those deaths is for persons to be vaccinated. Even though, we are able to add ten or 15 more ventilators to the process, even though we increase our capacity – add nurses, hire doctors – they would not be able to prevent the deaths because of course we know that they’re dealing with a virus that is very contagious and when contracted and your body doesn’t have the kind of immune responses, there can be severe consequences.”

People who wish to be vaccinated at the drive-through are advised to note the following:

• Vaccines are available to any person 18 years and over, except pregnant women

• Walk with a valid form of ID (national ID, passport, driver’s permit)

• Walk with your vaccination card (if available)

• People receiving the vaccine must be seated by a window in the vehicle

• There is a vehicle height restriction of eight feet.

• People who previously tested positive for covid19 must wait three months before receiving the vaccine.

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