Elderly citizens shelter with umbrellas outside the Freeport Health Centre, on Wednesday. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Scores of elderly people over the age of 65 started lining up early this morning, outside district health facilities in Central Trinidad, to ensure they got their COVID-19 vaccines.

When the rains broke out after 6 am, those in Chaguanas were afforded tents and chairs that were placed in an empty lot opposite the Chaguanas Health Centre. However, the elderly at Freeport and Couva had to scamper for cover. Those who did not walk with umbrellas had to seek shelter at bus sheds and under the eaves of nearby buildings until they were let inside.

At Freeport, 74-year-old Mohan Ramoutar, a resident of Chase Village, said he was not expecting a large crowd.

“I came early hoping it would not have lot of people. I want to come early and get back,” Ramoutar said, noting that he planned on sheltering the rain in his vehicle.

At Couva, 81-year-old Phyllis Sewdass said she did not want to go for her vaccine since she had hip replacement surgery and was unable to stand for long. She said better arrangements could have been put in place.

“It was disturbing and disappointing,” she said.  “All night I was looking at the time to see when it would be time to come.”

A resident of Mc Bean, Couva, Sewdass, along with her husband, was dropped off at the Couva District Hospital by her 60-year-old son. Sewdass said she was also nervous and could not eat. She said upon arrival, the elderly had to line up outside the facility even though there was a tent with chairs inside the compound.

Sewdass resorted to sitting in a bus shed opposite the District Hospital.  She said she wiped down the seat before sitting, hoping she would not contract any other disease, as the bus shed is usually occupied by the some of the vagrants that roam the streets of Couva.