Members of the public register to get their vaccine at the Magdalena Grand, Tobago, during the Tourism and Construction sector programme yesterday.

The Tobago Regional Health Authority (TRHA) began vaccinations at its newest site on Saturday.

The Magdalena Grand Beach and Golf Resort, Lowlands, is the island’s first mass vaccination site. Vaccinations already take place at the Scarborough, Roxborough, and Canaan health centres. The centres continue to run their regular clinics while the vaccination drive takes place.

The Lowlands centre only accommodated workers from the tourism and construction workers on its first day, giving them their first dose of the Sinopharm vaccine.

Although vaccinations continue on Monday at the Lowlands site, vaccination of tourism and construction workers continues on June 17 and 18, the TRHA said.

Speaking about the initiative, the TRHA’s General Manager of Primary Health Care Dr Roxanne Mitchell said the site was started to deliver the second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, but that changed.

“With the vaccine to operate agenda for the national economy, we decided to open up this site…We hope to vaccinate about 250 people today (Saturday),” she said.

She said during all vaccination exercises, the authority was picking up information that many people are unaware of their pre-existing medical conditions. She said those people will be incorporated into the TRHA’s clinics for treatment.

The Magdalena Grand Resort’s general manager Vinod Bajaj said he was glad the TRHA took up his offer to use the hotel as a vaccination site. He said his staff would be vaccinated.

“My personal goal is to have 30 per cent of my staff vaccinated by the end of June… I certainly think within two to three months, I would like to see 70-80 per cent of my staff vaccinated.”

Bajaj said most of the resort’s 200 staff showed interest in taking the vaccine. One such person is Zacques Morrison. He was the first person to be vaccinated yesterday.

“I had no side effects. I must give credit to the organisation. Everything went smoothly. They checked your vitals. They give you information about what vaccine you were taking, side effects. I got up knowing today is D-day and realised I had to carry through with the decision to take it, so I did,” he told reporters.

All vaccinations in Tobago are done only by appointments, the TRHA said.

The appointment-only system began on June 10.

According to the TRHA, as of Friday, June 11, there were 21 new COVID cases in Tobago, bringing the total number of positive cases to 199. The authority also said 579 people are fully vaccinated and 7,178 have received their first dose.