SewaTT’s vaccination site at the Divali Nagar compound. AZP News/Sue-Ann Wayow
By Sue-Ann Wayow
EVERY human being deserves a Covid-19 vaccine and for this reason two days have been designated to vaccinate anyone from the migrant population.
The drive is being spearheaded by non-profitable organisation SewaTT which mass vaccination site at the Divali Nagar compound in Chaguanas has already vaccinated at least 65,000 persons between first and second dose.
Site manager Revan Teelucksingh told AZPNews.com that while migrants can be vaccinated at any time at the site, regardless of their nationality and legal status, Sunday and Monday were specifically designed for them.
He said interpreters, mainly Spanish and Nigerian would be on site to assist as well as medical professionals who speak foreign languages.
Together with the Living Waters Community, Teelucksingh said SewaTT was trying to inoculate as many migrants as possible.
He said, “The Ministry of Health has made their policy very clear that every human being in Trinidad will get vaccinated and we are just facilitating that.
“They (the migrants) are a very important part of who we are as a country. Our culture is to help as much people as we can, it does not matter their circumstance or wherever they come from, they are people and our view of it is that we have a responsibility to vaccinate every human being.”
The thrust towards the migrant vaccination was being conducted on the holidays because resources were available for that period, Teelucksingh said.
Today is the Emancipation Day holiday since August 1 fell on a Sunday this year.
Vaccination begins at around 11am and will continue till 5pm.
Transport will be provided for those needing it in and around Chaguanas and persons can call 333- SEWA/7392 if the service is required.
Teelucksingh said SewaTT was also encouraging Trinidadians to encourage their migrant workers and friends to get vaccinated and provide additional transport if possible.
SewaTT is hoping to vaccinate at least 3000 migrants per day.
Consolidating into one space
The Supermarket Association of Trinidad and Tobago (SATT) that pioneered the first mass vaccination site run by the private sector closed its doors at Centre Pointe Mall, Chaguanas on Friday and is now partnering with SewaTT to administer second doses of the Sinopharm vaccine.
Teelucksingh said the two organisations have always worked together and this venture was no different. Given that vaccinations are now available at all health centres and Covid-19 numbers were declining, SATT decided to merge its operations with SewaTT as “it makes more economic sense to consolidate into one space.”
The only challenge has been getting enough vaccinators.
The site costs are being covered by First Citizens Bank and Republic Bank and they will continue to provide financial support until the end of August.
He said the site, given its large flat space and air-conditioned rooms provided a sense of comfort to persons getting their vaccine and helps with any feeling of anxiety.
Teelucksingh said out of 65,000 jabs given there were no reports of major incidents with a few complaining of side effects such as headaches and fever but a short while.
Generally on a day where more vaccinations are being done, about 100 volunteers were required plus 50 medical volunteers, he added.
And Teelucksingh also thanked the Trinidad and Tobago Medical, Dental and the Veterinary Associations and others, whose members assist at the site during their free time .
Everybody needs somebody
Former Member of Parliament for Fyzabad Chandresh Sharma has been volunteering at the site.
He told AZPNews.com, “This is one time everybody needs somebody. If we want to see a better tomorrow, let’s help today and do some charity work.
“Sometimes the simple act of wanting to assist goes a long way. People needs to be reached out, they will most appreciate it. A lot of people have been locked away, based on restrictions and really without families.”