Former UNC MP, Dr Tim Gopeesingh said government is failing to properly inform citizens of its vaccination plans.
In a release on Sunday, Gopeesingh said “the past week’s debacle over the Health Minister’s ignorance over the Barbados Government’s very benevolent gift of 2000 Covid-19 vaccines to Trinidad and Tobago points to the extremely worrying reality of the Government’s lack of a comprehensive national Covid-19 vaccination distribution programme.
He said “To date, even as over 80 countries globally, including some of our Caricom neighbours, have already begun vaccinating their respective populations, the T&T Government stands accused of failing to properly inform the population of a clear, defined and believable national Covid-19 vaccination plan.
As of now, he said “the Government has still not given a definite date as to when T&T will actually be receiving the Covid-19 vaccines that taxpayers have paid for. They had previously promised this would happen by the beginning of March, but are now saying that at the end of February, COVAX will give us the INFORMATION as to when the Covid-19 vaccines will ACTUALLY be available for T&T.”
“Also, Prime Minister Rowley had previously said T&T would be receiving the vaccines for approximately 40 per cent of our population; yet the Health Minister gave differing figures of 100,000 and then 20,000 vaccines.”
Gopeesingh said “The Government has also waffled over whether these would be the AstraZeneca, Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, and have not detailed exactly which countries they have asked for help; for example, PM Rowley mentioned the African Council while the Foreign Affairs Minister spoke of India.”
The Health Minister has also said that they using the CDAP listing (of citizens who use the public healthcare system) to determine who will be getting the vaccine in the first phase of distribution.
“He failed to mention, however, if there are similar plans for the private healthcare sector, which is utilized by thousands of citizens who also suffer from co-morbidities and other serious health problems. He has also failed to give details as to the allocated sites for the vaccine distribution,” Gopeesingh added.
He said “This widespread mixed messaging and outright withholding of critical information has effectively given the population the convincing impression that the Rowley Government simply does not, and cannot, properly manage the crucial Covid-19 vaccination process for T&T.”
While this lack of transparency and confusion has worryingly defined the Government’s overall response to the Covid-19 pandemic from its outset, it is simply dangerous and unacceptable at this crucial stage of the pandemic.”
“The fact is that in order to ensure proper Covid-19 herd immunity over 80 per cent of our 1.3 million population must be vaccinated, which translates into approximately 800,000 citizens. Thus far, citizens have gotten no clear indication of whether the Government can in fact source and rapidly and quickly distribute this requisite sum, and the timeframe for so doing.”