Dr Ian Sammy, head, Accident and Emergency Department, Scarborough General Hospital receives his covid19 vaccine from Beryl Samuel-Gray, District Health Visitor, earlier this year. - DIVISION OF HEALTH
Dr Ian Sammy, head, Accident and Emergency Department, Scarborough General Hospital receives his covid19 vaccine from Beryl Samuel-Gray, District Health Visitor, earlier this year. - DIVISION OF HEALTH

Chief Secretary Ancil Dennis is disappointed with the number of Tobago healthcare workers presenting themselves for covid19 vaccines.

At the post executive council briefing on Wednesday, Dennis said approximately 53 per cent of health workers have received jabs.

Health workers have been prioritised for vaccines since Tobago received its first shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca in February.

As of Wednesday, 11,431 people in Tobago have received at least one jab while 9,094 people have received their full two doses.

Dennis appealed to health workers to come forward.

"Y'all are the most at risk. There is nobody more exposed to the virus than you, whether you are working at the hospital or health centre.

"A hospital is a place where sick people will go, sometimes in large numbers. A hospital is a place where, whether we like it or not, no matter how much we prepare for it, the virus will end up – whether through a patient with symptoms, whether asymptomatic, whether a pregnant patient. Once you have it in your population the virus will make its way into health institutions. I have heard of no hospital without infections.

"Healthcare workers should be first in line to get vaccinated."

Dennis said he recalled early in the pandemic there were discussions among healthcare workers about the safety of masks.

"We have moved from a point where masks were the only protection to a point were we have vaccinations. I think the lowest level protection from the vaccine is about 73 per cent, and that is a significant protection. "

He added, "History will tell us, that the only way of fighting viruses and diseases of this nature is through protection of the human species through vaccination.

"It is nothing new. I carried my two children to the health centre at Buccoo for (vaccination against) a number of diseases – tetanus, hepatitis B, yellow fever and others."

Debunking conspiracy theories about the virus magnetising the body, changing one's DNA and even being a symbol of the devil, Dennis said he was fully vaccinated with Sinopharm and was fine.

"There is no chip in the vaccine. I took it and felt no chip running through my veins. I got a bulb and placed it on the site and the bulb did not light. I got a key and placed it on the site of the injection and the key did not stick to my skin, neither did the number 666 appear on anywhere of my body.

"There is a lot of misinformation and dotish talk that does not even make an iota of sense. As Tobagonians we have to pick sense from nonsense. Once diseases exist there will be the need for vaccination."

He called on Tobagonians to help the country reduce the impact of the pandemic.

"I'm saying to reflect on what we have gone through. Reflect on the 31 lives lost in Tobago and the 1,000 lives lost in TT. Reflect on the job losses, the months of business closure. Reflect on the fact your sons and daughters could not go out to school and socialise. I am even worried about my son, who is four years of age. He has no idea what it is like to go to school and play and be exposed to other personalities.

"Reflect on those challenges and and draw on the most sensible conclusion that the main weapon we have against the virus is the vaccines that are available."





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