Keran Ramoutar, left, Elizabeth Balkissoon, and Andearse Ramoutar show their vaccination cards after receiving their first COVID-19 jabs at SAPA, San Fernando, yesterday.

Despite the surge in infections and deaths over the past few weeks, there seemed to be a poor turnout of people seeking vaccines at the mass vaccination site at the Southern Academy for Performing Arts (SAPA) in San Fernando Monday. There was just a handful of people waiting for their first, second and third shot under two of the tents.

Elizabeth Balkissson and her two sons, ages 13 and 15, of La Romaine were among the few who turned up for their first dose. She said they did not take the vaccine before because they were not “really going anywhere.”

But, she explained that she decided to take the vaccine because “things are getting very serious all over the place and to be safer.” She admitted that she was concerned about her children experiencing side effects.

“But, I have faith everything will work out,” she added. Another parent, Imtiaz Easahak, brought his daughter, who recently turned 12, to get her second dose of Pfizer.

Encouraging people to get vaccinated, he said, “I think it is in our best interest for our kids to get vaccinated when they turn 12. I think that is a plus. Even though the kids are not showing a lot of symptoms, at least you feel a sense of protection that they get it. It is better to get it than not to get it.”

Members of the public register to receive the COVID-19 vaccine at SAPA, San Fernando, yesterday.

With regards to all students returning to school, he said the country is caught between a rock and a hard place.

“Our economy has to continue to work and to prosper, our kids need to be educated. We are all caught up in this world should we restart, should we not restart. It is not an easy decision to make.” But, he believes physical classes should resume for all students, particularly vaccinated children.

“We are still learning about this virus. The Omicron (variant) has recently surfaced in African. We don’t know how it will impact us. At this point in time, all we have is the vaccination, we owe it to our kids, we owe it to our future, to be protected.”

Guardian Media also spoke with former councillor Claire Boyce who took her third shot. She said there were several people at the site earlier in the morning.

When the South West Regional Health Authority was contacted for the data about yesterday’s vaccination, an official said the data was still being collected from the various sites.

However, he said at the Courts branch at South Park a total of 12 people received either the first, second or third shot of Sinopharm, 56 took Pfizer and 16 took Johnson & Johnson.