Deputy Chief Secretary of the Tobago House of Assembly Watson Duke.

Like many others who had taken a hard stance against COVID-19 vaccines, grief has led Progressive Democratic Patriots’ political Leader Watson Duke to get vaccinated.

Over the past year, Duke had made several anti-vax statements although he maintained that he was pro-choice. However, in a social media video message, the Tobago House of Assembly Deputy Chief Secretary announced that he had exercised his freedom of choice to take the vaccine for his children’s sake. He said his children were going to school and saw the devastating effects of COVID-19, having lost loved ones. He said he and his wife also suffered the loss of loved ones in a flash.

“They did not even have the opportunity to say goodbye, nor had we the opportunity to say goodbye to them. We have to do something was the cry from my children, my wife, etc. What are we going to do is the question. Are we going to continue taking the recommended anti-COVID medications, or are we going to take the recommended vaccine?”

Duke said he stood with his family members who were desirous of getting the vaccine, so he decided to take the vaccine. He urged people to make the right choice regardless of their circumstances. “Damned if you do. Damned if you do not. Make up your mind on what you want to do,”

he said.

A somewhat surprised Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said he welcomed Duke’s change of position. At yesterday’s Ministry of Health COVID-19 Update, Deyalsingh said he was happy that Duke had come around.

“In this Tug of War with the virus, we need everyone. It is not a government thing. We need everyone to pull in the same direction, and if Mr Watson Duke belatedly is going to pull with Trinidad and Tobago, then I welcome it,” he said.

—Kevon Felmine