Employees of the food and beverage sector stand outside SAPA waiting to be vaccinated yesterday.

More than 1,300 COVID-19 vaccinations were administrated at two mass vaccination sites in South Trinidad yesterday, the first day of the vaccination drive targeting workers in the food and beverage sector.

The Ministry of Health has designated 20,000 doses for the sector ahead of Monday’s reopening.

There was a steady flow of people at the SAPA site, with the line wrapping around the building at times.

While some workers employed in the fast-food industry have complained about being forced to take the vaccine to return to work, Nic-Connor Alexander, a worker at Jap’s restaurant at C3 Mall, said it was his choice.

He said, “I came to take the vaccine because the virus not going no where, so is better to be safe than sorry. I was willing to come and take it. It was voluntary.”

There were not only workers in the food industry lining up for the vaccines.

Retired police officer Kenneth Briggs, 63, and his wife Alma, 61, have relatives working in the food industry and they were taking no chances.

Encouraging the workers who are still hesitant to protect themselves and their families, Briggs said, “Better they come and take the vaccine to help other people from contracting this disease, because this disease is not a joke you know. It is no joke. The conspiracy theories that going on outside there is not something nice to deal with, fear and all this kind of thing with people.”

Police and security officers were present to ensure compliance with the COVID-19 protocols.

South West Regional Health Authority corporate communications manager Kevon Gervais said a total of 1,386 people were vaccinated.

He said at the SAPA site, 1,064 vaccines were administered, while 322 people were vaccinated at the Penal Power Generation Facility.

The vaccination drive is expected to continue today, Monday and Tuesday.