tracy Davidson-celestine

Tracy Davidson-Celestine, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development.

Two days after the roll-out of the national Covid-19 vaccination programme during which the AstraZeneca vaccine were mainly administered to frontline healthcare workers and members of the population deemed most vulnerable, Tobago has opened the vaccine to all members of the population.

The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development said via a press release on Thursday, that the decision was taken in light of the date of expiry of the vaccine (May 31) and the time eight-week frame to administer the second dose.

"In Tobago, while front line workers are a priority, as well as persons 60 years and over, the vaccination process was opened to all persons over 18 years of age, who are interested in taking the vaccine.

"When registration initially started, it was recognised that at the pace of registration there would have been a challenge to administer all the doses by the expiry date of the vaccines. Therefore, a system was devised to ensure that none of the vaccines remain on hand post May month end. We must keep in mind that the vaccines expire at the end of May," the release stated.

The Division of Health said it is useful to note, that in order for a second dose to be administered within the required eight week period, the first dose must be administered as soon as possible.

"There are 3,000 doses to be administered in this round and approximately 2,200 persons have since applied. Seniors and front line staff who wish to obtain vaccines will get vaccinated, once they are willing. This is a voluntary exercise and although there is a priority listing, not all who are considered priority will come forward because of fears and suspicion.

"Vaccines are a scarce commodity and are difficult to get, therefore our system must take into consideration the prevailing circumstances and the realities. Wastage at this time is not encouraged. Our focus now is on ensuring that all dosages are administered by the end of May and that eventually at least over 60 per cent of the population is vaccinated. In that regard, we are heartened that more vaccines will arrive into the country by next week so that the process can continue with some level of predictability."

Noting that despite there are still fears from the general public, the Division of Health said people are signing up on a steady basis to receive the vaccines, and thus far, the island has managed to vaccinate over 150 persons per day at the three health centres in Roxborough, Scarborough and Canaan.

Stating that she had received the vaccine and is still standing, Tracy Davidson-Celestine, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development said she was able to resume normal activities after only a few hours.

"While signing up and taking the vaccine is voluntary, pretty soon it will become a global requirement especially for travel and who knows perhaps, to enter some business places as well. If we agree that we want to return to normal and reduce the social and economic pressures, it’s important that we subscribe.

"We continue to urge persons to put their fears aside."

She said the primary care staff have been managing the process well and there has been no significant adverse reports.

"The public must note, that once a vial is opened it must be used within a six hour period. Sometimes persons who are booked may not show up for appointments. In those circumstances walk-ins are welcomed," Davidson-Celestine said.   

And according to Dr Roxanne Mitchell, Acting General Manager Primary Care Services, TRHA and coordinator for the Tobago vaccine roll-out, most people are receiving the vaccine and most health centres have been going beyond the normal time of closure.

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU

Stuart Young was a natural pick for the Energy portfolio, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley indicated yesterday.

In making Stuart Young the new Minister of Energy and Energy Industries, the Prime Minister chose someone who had been involved in and familiar with all the major issues to be resolved in the energy sector.

INSP Mark Hernandez, head of the Special Operations Response Team (SORT) of the Police Service, has been charged with misbehaviour in public office.

The charge was laid around 4 p.m., yesterday by his colleagues of the Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) after consultation with Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Roger Gaspard, SC earlier in the day as well as at the weekend.

THE Brazilian Covid Variant of Concern (P1) has been recorded in the local population.

The Ministry of Health yesterday confirmed that the P1 variant was detected in a local Covid-19 patient who tested positive for the virus in Nariva/Mayaro.