While businesses have been called upon to vaccinate to function, Tunapuna MP Esmond Forde calls on parents to vaccinate to educate.
Forde pleaded with parents to get their children ages 12 to 18 vaccinated while addressing parents and children at the Supermarket Association (SATT) vaccination site at Center Pointe Mall, Chaguanas on Saturday.
The site is managed in partnership with Sewa TT and is one of the many sites operationalized by the Ministry of Health to immunize children aged 12 to 18 with the Pfizer covid19 vaccine.
“I have to say a special mention to Mr. (SATT President Rajiv) Diptee and the Supermarket Association for putting on another fantastic campaign to ensure we get vaccinated to work.
“But we need to change the term a bit now… vaccinate to educate because now we have children and students, ages 12 to 18, who are being vaccinated.
“We’re all in it. The sooner we get vaccinated, the faster we can operate, the faster we can educate our children,” said Forde.
In addition to asking parents to do their due diligence, Forde also called on vaccinated children to encourage their friends and family to get vaccinated.
He reminded children that there must be a high vaccination rate among students for schools to physically reopen.
“When you get home (after being vaccinated) call your friends, call your cousin, call all your families and tell them I took my vaccine today… did you take yours? “
“This is an important question because in order for us to open schools, we all need to get you vaccinated.
“So it’s important to make sure that for schools to open, you get your first dose and you get your second dose.”
Diptee volunteered at Costatt’s vaccination site in El Dorado on Thursday when he met Forde and invited him to visit the association’s site.
After visiting the SATT vaccination site on Saturday, Forde congratulated the association and Sewa TT for the development of the site and for the smooth running of the vaccination process.
In Forde constituency, he works with members of the Tunapuna Youth Desk (TYD) to immunize unvaccinated people, especially young people.
Forde and the youth group recently launched the Sleeves Up campaign to encourage people to take the jab.
He explained that the name of the campaign was coined by TYD chairman Mikhael Campbell.
So far, as part of the campaign, talks and seminars have been held across Tunapuna constituency to tackle vaccine misinformation and dispel hesitation.
For the campaign, Forde wrote a jingle titled Sleeves Up with soca chutney artist Chris Garcia who performed the jingle live on Saturday at the SATT vaccination site.
“As we all know, to get vaccinated you have to roll up your sleeve.
“We are going to microphone the area, in the Tunapuna constituency, in order to bring out the people who have yet to be vaccinated,” said Forde, explaining the idea behind the song.
Hallie Bootkoon, 16, was among the children vaccinated at the SATT site.
She told Newsday on Sunday: “I have a few friends who got vaccinated on Wednesday and yesterday (Friday).
“I was a little skeptical (of the vaccine) at first because of the side effects but it all depends on your body and how you react to it.
Bootkoon said she had had a smooth vaccination process and was now looking forward to receiving her second Pfizer vaccine.
Hallie’s mother, Vanessa Bootkoon, said: “I read a lot of information that was out there (about the vaccine), negative and positive.
“And, I wanted my daughter to have the best possible chance to thrive in this covid environment because it’s here and it’s something we have to deal with.
“For me, getting the vaccine was the best possible option for her to live with covid19. “
She said she also wanted her daughter to be able to physically go to school safely, socialize with her friends and enjoy the outdoors.
Bootkoon’s message to other parents, especially those who may be hesitant, is to do proper research on the covid19 vaccine in order to make the best choice for their children.
She added: “For me, it’s better to have a chance to fight than no luck at all and with the vaccine it’s a chance to fight.
“So I will encourage all parents to get their children vaccinated and also give them this chance to fight. “
In addition to leaving with their first vaccine, the children vaccinated on the SATT site also left with gifts from Angostura and Blue Waters.