3173097
Garth George waits his turn at the Canaan Health Centre to be vaccinated yesterday.

Camille McEachnie

Police officers of the Tobago Division were called out to the Scarborough Health Centre just after noon yesterday to assist with crowd control as people with and without appointments showed up for the first dose of Sinopharm and second dose of AstraZeneca at the same time.

At the Canaan and Roxborough Health Centres, the crowds appeared to be smaller, but people complained that the vaccination system for COVID-19 was “disorganised.”

Garth George, of, Canaan said he had no appointment for his first vaccine. He said he visited the centre because he heard appointments were unnecessary.

Rion Smith and Oliver Williams, of Lowlands, said they had no appointments.

However, they expected to get the vaccine as others had already received their first dose without appointments, they told Guardian Media.

Three other people at the Canaan and Scarborough centers, who asked not want to be identified, claimed they had to wait hours although they had scheduled appointments for vaccines yesterday,

“ I got here at 7. 45 am for my 9 am appointment and returned home at 11 am because there were more than 25 people in the line. The people I left at 11 are still outside,” one woman told Guardian Media.

She claimed she returned at 1 pm as a walk-in patient and got her vaccination “shortly after.”

Meanwhile, Guardian Media asked why they had not taken the vaccine before.

Many said they started getting anxious after seeing friends and relatives getting ill and dying from the disease.

However, the overwhelming response is the fear that the virus was changing peoples’ way of life. Many people related stories of families in need of food and money for necessities.

“Me cah take it no more. I tired see hungry people and people suffering. I tried helping cause a big, big man who had worked on the reef and ting, now begging. Things hard,” Williams told Guardian Media.

Smith, a Rotarian, said he had helped many people by dipping his hands in his pockets and directing them to Government-sponsored hampers.

“If a family of four or six get a hamper this week Friday, by Wednesday, that is finished. They looking for another hamper next week. If they don’t get one, what happens. How dey eating?” Smith asked.

George said, I’m “tired, tired, tired of the COVID.”

He added: “We Tobagonians are a proud people, and it hard to beg, so when you see certain people begging is because things hard.”

The Government is offering people affected by COVID-19 food hampers, food cards, rental, and income assistance.

In Tobago, the Progressive Democratic Patriots(PDP) is also offering food hampers. Those hampers include home-made bread through the party’s ‘Loaves of Love’ initiative.