Churches to be used as vaccination sites

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Churches to be used as vaccination sites

Places of worship remain closed for religious gatherings, but the Ministry of Health intends to use them as vaccination sites for citizens.

Speaking at a media conference chaired by Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley July 31 at the Anne Mitchell-Gift Auditorium, Scarborough Library Facility in Tobago, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the Ministry was to engage places of worship “because people like to feel comfortable in their surrounding so many churches, mosques, mandirs have been identified in each of the RHAs (Regional Health Authorities). So come and be vaccinated, say a prayer, seek guidance from your Creator to make the right choice.”

Archbishop Jason Gordon confirmed with Catholic News that the Ministry had been in contact and the Archdiocese will cooperate as best as it can. Details were still being ironed out.

Last Sunday and Monday, volunteers from the Living Water Community were at the Divali Nagar, Chaguanas mass vaccination site to assist migrants and refugees to get vaccinated.

At the media conference, the Minister stated 194,710 persons had received two vaccine doses by July 31. The goal of 188,900 had been set by that date. He said while the Ministry had surpassed the target, many more people needed to be vaccinated.

He called on persons in the retail sector and those who provide personal services (hairdressers, barbers, nail technicians) “who currently cannot practice their trade” to be vaccinated.

Minister Deyalsingh said to get the number of vaccinations up to 15,000 per day required “store owners, chambers of commerce, religious leaders…to provide transport to bring people to the mass vax sites and drive thrus.”

He said it was time “to bring the same energy we bring to elections to vaccinations”, noting many people want to be vaccinated but do not have transport to get to the sites. “Let August be a huge month for vaccinations” the Health Minister emphasised.

Also speaking at the media conference was PM Rowley, Tracy Davidson-Celestine, Secretary of Health, Wellness and Family Development, as well as a Councillor in the Tobago House of Assembly, and the team of health officials in both Trinidad and Tobago responding to the pandemic.

There was no word from the Prime Minister on when places of worship will be opened to the faithful. These have been closed since May 2 weekend