Nirala Abraham (left) and her sister Kirana wait for their jab at the mass vaccination site at Chaguanas. (Image: SHASTRI BOODAN)

Hundreds of young people showed up at the mass vaccination site run by the Supermarkets Association of T&T (SATT) at the Centre Pointe Mall, Chaguanas, on Friday, one of two new sites opened by the Ministry of Health to roll out the Pfizer Vaccine to young people between the ages of 12-18 years.

SATT President Rajiv Diptee said the structure of the mass vaccination site was designed to encourage mass appointments to include schools. He said these appointments can be done online.

The SATT president told Guardian Media the aim is to get as many as 1,000 persons vaccinated daily. He explained there will be vaccinations on Saturday 21st August, and then again on next Wednesday 25th, Friday 27th and Saturday 28th August—a pattern which would be repeated for the next few weeks.

Rajiv Diptee said the idea was to stagger the days to allow for group appointments:

“We have enough space and staff to accommodate groups and keep within the Covid protocols,” he said.

Dr Stephen Ramlogan said about 400-500 doses were carded to be distributed on Friday.

“The [Pfizer] vaccine is WHO-approved for persons between the ages of 12-18 years, and it is a relatively safe vaccine with rare side effects.  Once you agree, you should be able to get vaccinated. It is not only to help you, it’s to help your family, to help your loved ones, friends and the entire population of T&T,” Dr Ramlogan told Guardian Media. 

Nirala Abraham, 16, and her sister  Kirana, 12, said the only reasons she wants the vaccine is “to flatten the curve to slow the spread of infections and for life to return to a level of normalcy.” 

Nirala told us both her parents took the vaccine, while Kirana said taking the vaccine was a good choice.  Kirana said she is in form one  but has not yet attended a physical class at her school. Kirana said she wants to experience high school beyond the virtual realm.

Ronald Samaroo of Cunupia took his son Justin Samaroo to the vaccine site, today.

“I have allowed him to make the decision to take the vaccine,” he said.

Justin told us his reason for getting vaccinated: “I want to lime and get back to interacting with my friends.”