PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad and Tobago, June 13, 2021 - Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has unreservedly apologised to the thousands of persons, particularly senior citizens, for the problems they encountered attempting to receive COVID-19 vaccines at several Health Centres this week, in response to a call from the government to come out and get vaccinated.
Dr Rowley acknowledged that the Government “tried to do too much, with too little”, and assured that the Ministry of Health is making the necessary adjustments to ensure a smoother vaccination roll-out for older people.
Speaking at a press conference at the Diplomatic Centre in St Ann’s on Saturday, Dr Rowley admitted that walk-in vaccination or mass vaccination was a “bad idea” and took responsibility for it as the head of the government.
He said it was not the fault of the technical staff of the facilities but a communication problem between the government and the wider population as many people were unable to register to get vaccinated.
On Wednesday, the Ministry of Health began offering walk-in vaccination for those over 60 and those younger with non-communicable diseases on a first come, first served basis.
Long lines and crowds gathered at vaccine sites across the country, as persons began to line up hours before the gates of the vaccine centres opened. But with a limited supply of vaccines, the majority were sent back home.
At the press conference, Dr. Rowley announced that
– A shipment of 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine is expected to arrive in the country on Monday 14th June, 2021.
– Thousands of doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines have been donated to Trinidad and Tobago by the Government of Grenada (8,000 doses) and the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (5,500 doses). Dr Rowley thanked both countries for their generous donation.
– The Construction Sector will remain closed. Prime Minister Rowley will discuss with the Minister of Finance avenues to assist this sector.
– Shift operations to be implemented at Hardware stores.
Minister of Health, the Hon. Terrence Deyalsingh announced adjustments to the National COVID-19 Vaccination Drive for the elderly. This adjustment is expected to begin on Wednesday 16th June, 2021.
People 65 years and over will be given appointments for vaccination across 36 Health Centres. The Regional Health Authorities will contact their Primary Health Care clients and District Health Visitors (DHV) will contact and visit shut-ins who fall within this age bracket.
Minister Deyalsingh indicated that the second dose vaccination roll-out will continue to take place across the country.