Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh received his vaccination against Covid-19 today. Before the jab, the health minister said that he was happy about the start of the vaccine rollout.
“From all reports so far, barring a couple hiccups, which you will expect, things have gone relatively smoothly. We have been able to hit our target of 1000 doses per day,” he said.
He added: “It is quite likely that we will not only meet our target of 1000 but beat it – on the first day, which is something I am so happy about.”
Deyalsingh said that the 1000 vaccinations per day target was set for the initial phase of the rollout.
“We chose that number because of the limitations of vaccines. But as we get more vaccines, those numbers will escalate very, very quickly. So, it’s not going to take years, as some people are suggesting, to achieve herd immunity.”
As of 2pm, 234 people had been vaccinated in the North Central Regional Health Authority, 63 in the Northwest, 274 in the Southwest, 72 in the Eastern and 84 in the Tobago Regional Health Authorities.
The health minister announced that within the next seven to 10 days, the ministry would be adding three extra vaccination sites in the Northwest Regional Health Authority.
He explained the challenge of finding suitable sites: “Many of the health centres within the city, for example, Oxford St, George St and Woodbrook, were just not sufficiently spaced in terms of floor area to accommodate a vaccination programme,” he said.
“But we are looking at three other sites because we recognise that persons in and around Port of Spain need more access to the vaccines. And that’s probably why Northwest, you’re only seeing 63.”
He added that in two weeks his ministry would announce its mass vaccination sites plan.
“We intend to double and triple the number of mass vaccinations sites within the next 2 to three weeks to a month as we escalate and increase our vaccination rates,” he said.
Meanwhile in Tobago, the Tobago House of Assembly Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, Tracy Davidson-Celestine, received her shot.
The assemblywomen stood in for Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley who could not get the vaccine as planned since being infected with Covid-19.
According to a press release from the Office of Prime Minister released earlier today, the prime minister tested positive for Covid-19 on Easter Monday and was being quarantined somewhere in Tobago.
“I don’t know his exact location, but I do know that he is in isolation as the [Office of the Prime Minister media release] did say,” Deyalsingh said.
The health minister also said that while he did not have the details, he knew that contract tracing had begun to identify anyone with whom the prime minister had come into contact.
In Tobago, nearly 1,550 people have pre-registered to get the AstraZeneca shot. The Tobago Regional Health Authority has set a vaccination target of 150 people per day.
As Davidson-Celestine prepared to be vaccinated, she admitted to having pre-jab jitters.
“Well I am actually very nervous,” she said, “but I am, of course, very used to taking vaccines.” She said that taking the Covid-19 vaccine was important and as was shown by the prime minister contracting the disease, anyone could be at risk.
“Covid does not discriminate and it’s important that we get vaccinated in order to preserve our lives,” she said.
The health ministry advised that those eligible for the vaccine should make an appointment at the vaccination site nearest to them. They also said to have a meal before going for the jab and to wear clothing that allowed easy access to the upper arm.
The ministry also encouraged people to walk with their immunisation card to record the type of vaccine administered, its expiration date, the date of vaccination and the date for the second dose in the immunisation card. Those without their cards will be issued a new one.
There is a 30-minute wait time in which people are monitored for any adverse reactions after taking the jab. The ministry will call to remind people when to come in for their second dose.
In its Covid-19 update for 6 March 2021, the health ministry reported 22 new positive cases of the virus. Since March 22, the ministry confirmed 8,214 total cases.
There are currently 392 active cases in the country. Thirty-eight patients are in hospital, with seven in step-down facilities. There are 285 people in state quarantine facilities and 325 in at-home self-isolation.
To date, 145 people have died of Covid-19.