Health Minister pleads for consent to vaccinate elderly at homes
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has renewed his plea for children, next of kins or guardians to grant permission to allow health workers vaccinate the elderly in long-stay care facilities, particularly in Tobago.
Last Saturday, Deyalsingh said Tobago House of Assembly Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development Tracy Davidson-Celestine told him the situation was especially challenging in Tobago.
On that occasion, he appealed to relatives of the elderly, especially those suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, to come forward and give the necessary consent.
But speaking at a news conference on Saturday at the Diplomatic Centre, St Ann’s, Deyalsingh said while some people responded positively to his appeal, more needed to come forward to give authorisation.
He said to date, health workers have been able to vaccinate 1,143 residents in these facilities on both islands.
This, he said, translates into 803 residents and 340 caregivers “which makes sense because you want the caregivers to be your firewall.”
Deyalsingh said the elderly residents cannot be vaccinated against their free will.
“We must have that informed consent. And we wouldn’t like one of these homes to really be crucible for covid19.”
At the briefing, Deyalsingh was asked to respond to Progressive Democratic Patriots deputy political leader Dr Faith BYisrael’s claim on Friday that there is a covid19 outbreak at the Scarborough General Hospital.
The Division of Health, Wellness and Family Development confirmed on Thursday there is a cluster of 18 covid19 cases at the hospital but denied there was any outbreak.
The division assured the cluster is not affecting the operations of the hospital.
Deyalsingh said based on the information he has received there is no outbreak at Scarborough hospital.
“What we do have is a small cluster,” he said, adding that further questions on the issue should be directed to Davidson-Celestine.
“But she told me categorically, if that is asked, there is no outbreak but there is a small cluster.”On the proposed reopening of the borders on July 17, the Prime Minister said unvaccinated nationals will not be allowed to enter the country through the ANR Robinson International Airport in Tobago but at Piarco.
Dr Rowley said fully vaccinated nationals can also enter the country through Tobago.
“But if you are not vaccinated and you are a non-national, you cannot enter Trinidad and Tobago at this time.”
Meanwhile, Tobago recorded seven more covid19 cases on Saturday.
This brings to 126, the number of active covid19 cases on the island. Tobago’s covid19 death toll stands at 27.
In a statement, the division said there are now 22 patients in state isolation, 94 in home isolation and one in ICU.
Nine patients are in step down facilities while four have been discharged.
The division said to date 8,073 people have been tested for covid19. Of that number, 900 tested positive.
There are 747 recovered patients.
The division said 9,866 people have received the first dose of either the Sinopharm of Astra-Zeneca vaccine while 5,510 people have received their second dose.