Scores of young people show up for vaccines, but not yet qualified


By Isanella Patoir

Former Minister of Health, Dr Leslie Ramsammy, says thousands of young people are being turned away from COVID-19 vaccination sites daily because they do not meet the criteria to take the vaccine.

“On an average of about 1,000 people per day are being turned back because they are not within the eligibility group,” Dr Ramsammy told the News Room during an interview on Tuesday.

He explained that exceptions are made in special circumstances for persons to be vaccinated, pointing out that if a couple shows up and only one of them meet the criteria, then both are vaccinated. Currently, only persons 40-years and older and frontline workers are being administered the jab.

“If a couple shows up and one is 40 and one is less than 40, we will vaccinate the couple cause we don’t think it makes it sense for a husband and wife to come in and one of them to get the vaccine and one has to go back and come back,” the former Health Minister told the News Room.

While noting the high enthusiasm for persons to take the vaccine, Dr Ramsammy emphasised that there is still some hesitancy from citizens. He said the Ministry of Health has received numerous reports of persons being told that the vaccines will do more harm than good.

Dr Leslie Ramsammy, Advisor to the Minister of Health (Photo: News Room/ March 16 2021)

“People have told me that this thing has been brought in by the government to kill people, these are conspiracy theories, these are tall tales and people need to use their common sense to see this is not so,” Dr Ramsammy emphasised.

He stressed that the vaccines will help save lives and prevent and protect persons from experiencing severe symptoms of COVID-19.

To date, some 42, 000 persons have been vaccinated. Region Four account for the majority of vaccinations with over 20,000; this is followed by Region Six with 8,000 and Region Three with 7,000.

Beginning this week, several hundred-second doses are also expected to be administered.  More than 100 fixed vaccination sites and mobile teams are administering first and second doses of the vaccines.

Dr Ramsammy noted that the first dose of the 10,000 Sinopharm vaccines has basically been used up already. This leaves two other options – AstraZeneca and the Sputnik V vaccines. Another shipment of the Sputnik vaccine is also expected later this week.

“All of these vaccines provide 100% protection and therefore I hope people would take the vaccine that is available,” Dr Ramsammy said.

He is urging all those eligible to take the vaccine and further called faith and community leaders to lead the way and encourage persons to be vaccinated.

“The vaccine will not turn you into any animal, it will not kill you there is no vaccine that will turn a human into a monkey. I have taken the vaccine and I am the same person, it has not changed me what the vaccine has done is make me safer,” the former Health Minister noted.

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