UNC MP, Rishad Seecheran, said despite the Ministry of Health’s moderate daily target of 1,000 Covid19 vaccine doses a day, the public experienced great frustration in accessing an appointment and the changing of vaccination policies during its first week of rollout.
Speaking at yesterday’s UNC media briefing, Seecheran said while the Ministry of Health admitted “teething” problems, he is calling for Government to employ jobless people and institute a National Vaccination Hotline and website for vaccination appointments.
He said some people were taking three days – and up to 24 calls– to get through to make appointments with the current system of calling Health Centres – a prohibitive process.
The current system has each Health Centre responsible to taking calls, recording names, ages, telephone numbers, driver’s permit numbers and of course booking appointments.
Seecheran said he has received reports of people lined up outside health centres to register including in the Prime Minister’s constituency. However, he said “Our elderly deserve better.”
He said there has also been complaints by some clinic patients that they were being “jumped” by people who were not outpatients and who, while over the age of 60 years, may not be suffering from chronic diseases.
Seecheran suggested that Government administer all of the 33,600 COVAX vaccines as a first shot since 40,000 more were coming from India on Monday and those can be used for the second shot.
Touching on Tobago, Seecheran said members of the public have raised concerns about whether Tobago had a different policy for its national vaccination rollout, after word got out that Tobago House of Assemblymen may had been vaccinated since the plan was launched on last Tuesday.
The national vaccine rollout plan, had clearly indicated that in the first phase, health workers and elderly persons 60 and above were being targeted.
However, Seecheran noted that persons took to social media after it was learned Assembly Secretaries, THA staff and even media personnel were being vaccinated.
He said the 3,000 vaccines allocated to Tobago were meant for frontline workers and elderly persons as part of the priority process.