One day after Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley accepted blame for the widespread confusion that followed a call for persons to get vaccinated last week – scores of people turned up to receive their second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at various mass vaccination sites across the country yesterday.
Despite the rain and gloomy skies, long lines of people could be seen sheltering under umbrellas and holding towels and rags over their heads as they waited patiently for their second jab at the Southern Academy for the Performing Arts (SAPA), San Fernando.
The ten,t which can accommodate a small number of people, remained filled throughout the day.
And while there was an early morning line-up at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port-of-Spain – by 8 am, people had been screened and allowed to enter the facility where they were seated on plastic chairs as they waited for their second vaccine.
Anthony Mayers, who brought someone to be vaccinated yesterday, told Guardian Media, “Everything out here real smooth.”
Having arrived around 7 am, Mayers, who received his second vaccine last Monday, confirmed there had been a crowd gathered very early but this was soon dispersed as persons were allowed in to wait for the vaccination process to commence.
One woman, who gave her name only as Gonzales, complained after she was refused her second vaccine because it was on the day of her designated appointment.
This, even though she received a call from someone directing her to come in yesterday.
Having received her first vaccine on May 24, Gonzales said, “They called me and told me to come today (yesterday) and now when I come, they telling me is next Monday I have to get it. I going by the date they gave me on the phone.”
Doubly upset after she was turned away without the second shot, she said the miscommunication had also cost her a day of work.
“That made me mad because it take me off the job when I could have gone today, so I will have to take another day next week to come,” she said.
Unhappy about the inconvenience, she added, “It is not my fault, it is theirs. They should give people a proper date.”
She claimed, “That’s why plenty people are not taking the vaccine.”
At the St Joseph Enhanced Health Centre and the Diego Martin Health Centre – there appeared to be a steady stream of persons coming in to receive their second vaccine.
At both locations, persons were screened and seated under tents as they awaited their turn.
At the Diego Martin Health Centre, a small hand-written note was posted to the front gate at the entrance to the facility, which read, “Persons with appointments for second dose of Sinopharm COVID vaccines are to keep their appointment date and time given.”
Health officials received 200,000 doses of the Sinopharm vaccine from the Beijing Institute of Biological Products Company Ltd yesterday.
These vaccines will be used to provide both first and second doses to members of the public.
On Sunday, the North West Regional Health Authority (NWRHA) advised the public that in compliance with the national guidelines announced on June 12 - the walk-in system for the first dose of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine, would cease with immediate effect.
Officials said a scheduled appointment system will be implemented for the elderly population from age 65 and over from June 16.