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Two police officers are on the way to get their COVID-19 Astrazeneca jabs at SAPA on Wednesday.

Commissioner of Police Gary Griffith is confident that more police officers will be vaccinated as the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service (TTPS) steps up efforts to increase vaccination rates among officers.

During Saturday’s press conference, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley gave statistics that showed that only 43 per cent of police officers have been vaccinated, while only 50 per cent of nurses have taken the jab. Only 35 per cent of members of the T&T Defence Force have taken the vaccine and the uptake among prison officers is only 35 per cent. Only 20 per cent of prisoners have been vaccinated, the PM noted.

Griffith said that the TTPS’ vaccination rate was higher than the national average.

“400,000 adults have been fully vaccinated out of an adult population of over one million which means that roughly 38 per cent of the adult population has been vaccinated. The TTPS is by far higher than the ratio of the adult population vaccinated.”

He said, however, he will continue working to ensure that more police officers are vaccinated.

“Even if it is that the ratio for vaccination is higher in the TTPS than the adult population, I expect that the TTPS to be at a much higher standard and if it is that I have to go to each and every police officer to speak to them and explain to them the importance of them being vaccinated, we would do so. We are on a very aggressive campaign to try to influence all officers to understand the importance of them being vaccinated.”

Prisons Commissioner Dennis Pulchan admitted that the vaccination rates are not high in the prison system but said authorities will continue to work hard to educate all groups about the importance of getting vaccinated.

“This is still not mandatory, it is optional. We can’t force anyone. We have sensitised all inmates, all officers. We have shown them the deaths of inmates and the deaths of officers and at the end of the day, it still boils down to choice. I hope that good sense prevails as we have done everything we can.”

He said it was not only the Prison Service but that vaccine hesitancy was an issue that is widespread in the country.

The Sunday Guardian called Minister of National Security Fitzgerald Hinds for a comment on the low vaccination rates among law enforcement officers but he did not answer the call.

Nurses Association: Some 70 per cent to be vaccinated by October

President of the Registered Nursing Association Idi Stuart said the 50 per cent statistic of nurses vaccinated shows that their average was better than the national average.

He said they expect by October that about 70 per cent of nurses will be vaccinated.

“We believe that with the reintroduction of vaccine alternatives, more persons will make themselves available. I think our profession is doing good and I think it is a matter of time the rate increases. The association will continue to encourage our members to be vaccinated.”