Demming: Gov’t vaccination cards need tens of thousands of sheets of paper; why not digitise?

EPL Infrafred Sauna

An official in another country laughed when I presented my driver’s permit because it was a simple laminated card which could be made at any print shop.  That was about 15 years ago and things have only improved slightly.  

I thought of this when I received my vaccine card which provides evidence of my first Covid-19 jab. My mind wandered even further when I considered that our celebrated first round of vaccinating 3% of our population will generate at least 80,000 pieces of paper, if the model at the Queens Park Savannah is replicated throughout the country.

Image: A vaccination card in Trinidad and Tobago.

A casual scrub through the Facebook page of the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation (MPADT) threw up the following statement: ‘Our aim is to bridge the digital divide by providing free and easy to access Wi-Fi to citizens at their convenience.’

I therefore question the missed opportunity to digitise the administering of the Covid-19 vaccines.

Covid-19 vaccination is an opportunity to interact digitally with the at-risk cohorts and the senior citizens. It is an opportunity to send a message of transformation; to use technology to demonstrate that we can communicate effectively using a modern approach to map where those 40,000 recipients reside and maybe help communicate the behavioural change which is necessary to transform our country.  

The main document each person needed was their identification card. The information was copied into a book when you made the appointment, then a form was filled out at the vaccine centre; and after receiving your jab, you were given a vaccination card.

Couldn’t this have been done electronically and your certification emailed?

Photo: Stack ’em high.

We have missed these opportunities in the first round, but thankfully it is not too late to develop the systems and processes necessary to digitise the second round. Taking that bold step requires a forward-thinking leadership that understands systemic thinking and behaviour change. 

The leadership on this giant step should come from the Ministry of Public Administration and Digital Transformation (MPADT), which, as the name suggests, was established to lead our country’s digital transformation.

Part of the Covid-19 conversation speaks about rebuilding better and bouncing back.  As a developing country, we need to go beyond bouncing back and figure out how to bounce forward and take our populations with us.

The world has moved forward to a different landscape where using technology is common, available and all over the place. Trinidad and Tobago is far behind the curve but we need to find the means necessary to really transform our digital space and be part of the global conversation on sustainability and development.  

The only future wave we need to be on is the one powered by technology.

Photo: Minister of Public Administration and Digital Transformation Allyson West.
(via MPADT)
More from Wired868
Dear Editor: Miracle Ex-Minister beats background check to land Trade job

Dear Former Minister Darryl Smith, Congratulations on your recent appointment as a commercial officer for the Ministry of Trade. Your appointment Read more

Noble: The golden handcuffs—our love-hate relationship with Trinidad and Tobago

In 1958, the author, John Steinbeck, wrote an essay describing San Francisco as a city with “a golden handcuff with Read more

Demming: Commendable that Gov’t proclaimed Procurement Legislation; but keep Lalchan!

“[…] The theft of billions of dollars could have been prevented if we had a fully functional [Office of Procurement Legislation] according Read more

Demming: Despers’ hard gift—how will they fund operating and maintenance costs?

Congratulations to Despers on receiving their second multimillion-dollar gift from the people of Trinidad and Tobago. Their first theatre gift Read more

Dear Editor: Bottom in the web—AI composes soca song in three seconds

“[…] Bottoms up, they shake and sway; hips are moving, in a playful way; “Gyrating to the rhythm, so divine; Read more

Demming: Pan should be part of education curriculum, to maximise its value

“Pan is in good hands,” they said—after experiencing the energy and exuberance of the Junior Panorama finals at the Queen’s Read more

About Dennise Demming

Dennise Demming grew up in East Dry River, Port of Spain and has more than 30 years experience as a communication strategist, political commentator and event planner. She has 15 years experience lecturing business communications at UWI and is the co-licensee for TEDxPortofSpain. Dennise is a member of the HOPE political party.

Check Also

Dear Editor: Miracle Ex-Minister beats background check to land Trade job

Dear Former Minister Darryl Smith, Congratulations on your recent appointment as a commercial officer for …


  1. This does not surprise me. We are ticketing people for not wearing masks but we have nothing in place to collect the Fines. NATO – No Action Talk Only

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.