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Citizens stand in-line at the Barataria Health Centre before receiving the Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday. 

“It went well.”

So said St Augustine resident Amber Gonzales, 71, as she exited the Morvant Health Centre after getting her Covid-19 vaccine yesterday morning.

She was among dozens of people 65 years and older who received their first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine under what the Ministry of Health is calling the “Triple E System—the Elderly Express Experience”.

About 50 people were given their first doses of Sinopharm at six other health centres under North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA)-Diego Martin, Carenage, Barataria, Santa Cruz, San Juan and Petit Valley.

The Mobile Elderly Express Experience was also launched for senior citizens in homes and people who are unable to visit health centres.

Gonzales said: “I got here at 8 a.m. and everything went well. The staff were supportive and kind. At first I was undecided but when I saw the numbers I came for my vaccine. I would advise people to get the vaccine.”

Inside the compound, a white tent was set up and people were physically distanced.

At the Barataria Health Centre, there were no long lines like last Wednesday during the walk-in vaccine exercise.

People attended regular clinic and did not have to wait outside for medical treatment.

San Juan Regional Corporation councillor Adanna Griffith-Gordon assisted people with their queries at the gate’s entrance.

A health official described the process as “smooth sailing”.

He said: “We gave out 50 vaccines for 65-plus people. We gave out about 75 for all age groups. About 20 people turned up thinking we still had the alphabet system. But we did not turn them away. We took their information and will contact them. Some people said they got a call on WhatsApp. When I asked them to see it, they walked away briskly. You know we Trinis.”

He added: “At Morvant, we gave out about 50 for the 65-plus. First dose of Sinopharm. We gave out about 70 vaccines for the second dose. At San Juan, we gave out 50 on the first dose. At Santa Cruz, we gave out 50 for the 65-plus. We gave out 42 for the second dose. We gave people refreshments. We also told people to wait in their cars. People were social distancing and wearing their masks. It went well.”

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Citizens stand in-line at the Barataria Health Centre before receiving the Covid-19 vaccine on Wednesday. 

‘Elderly don’t have to wait long’

In a phone interview yesterday, North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) chief executive Salisha Baksh said of the vaccine process: “We are trying. We got better reviews.

(Yesterday) was the launch of the Elderly Express Experience at seven health centres. We made appointments from the chronic disease patients and outpatients’ list. People who may not have been in the public healthcare system and turned up for vaccines, staff are taking their names and contact information so they can get an appointment.”

She added: “We are ensuring the elderly don’t have to wait in long lines. The Health Minister wanted the elderly to be tended to as best as possible. They are ushered in by the (volunteers) for vaccination. We partnered with Rotary. We are hoping to make contact with Lions. They are given VIP service since they are the most vulnerable at this stage. The focus is on ensuring they have access to the vaccines, if they want it. The focus is on the elderly.” On the way forward, Baksh also said they launched the mobile unit outreach by visiting two homes-Living Water Community Mercy Home in Woodbrook and Maximilian Kolbe Cancer Hospice in Newtown.

About 30 people were vaccinated including residents and staff.

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On the sands of Manzanilla Beach on Trinidad’s East Coast, Spiritual Shouter Baptist believer Tameka Harris stood in the darkness before daybreak among the worshippers who had brought her there to be cleansed of her troubles.

There was a full moon and the tide was low that early morning in March.

The Government-imposed Covid-­19 restrictions at that time said beaches and coastal waters were open to the public from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

However, at 4.16 a.m., Tameka slipped away from the others, shed her clothing and walked into the sea where she died.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley yesterday implored the population to get vaccinated, as he expressed horror over three generations of a family being wiped out by Covid-19.

Speaking at the post-Cabinet news conference in Tobago, Rowley further warned that it would be “foolish” to think the deadly Delta variant would not come to Trinidad and Tobago, as he emphasised vaccination is the best defence.

The Tobago House of Assembly (THA) Amendment Bill will be proclaimed on Monday, signalling the start of the process for fresh THA elections. Upon proclamation, the bill becomes an Act of Parliament.

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