Good morning ladies and gentlemen and thank you for joining us today.
It’s hard to believe that it has been sixteen months since Trinidad and Tobago recorded its first case of the COVID-19 virus. However, there is so much more information that we have today, as compared to what little we knew when the pandemic started.
You have heard time and time again throughout the pandemic, to "trust the science". Today, hope is measured by the science which has given us vaccines that provide an exit out of this pandemic and a welcome return to a new version of normal that will see us working, living and playing together again. I know every citizen is wishing for this and anxious to get back to “living life” again. We all deserve this and that’s one of the reasons why we are gathered here today.
This pandemic has taken a toll on people both locally and globally in several ways, with many losing not only their jobs but their lives. COVID-19 does not discriminate; vaccines are the means through which we can save lives and fight this virus. It is the hope that an increase in vaccinated persons will allow for the eventual resumption of operations in the country.
Because we want to see persons safely return to work and resume their livelihoods, providing for themselves and their families and work towards getting back on their feet. We want to see businesses and therefore our economy thrives once more. And we want to see our nation bounce back successfully – more unified and collaborative in the post-pandemic era.
Today, I am so very pleased to see corporate Trinidad and Tobago step up to play their part in fighting this pandemic. As you are fully aware, an operation such as this is a massive undertaking, and it cannot be done by one single person or organization. If this pandemic has taught us anything, besides the importance of health and safety, it is the value of cooperation and collaboration. There are a number of private sector led mass vaccinations sites and you heard Charles mention 5 of the mass vaccination sites, which demonstrate the continued collaboration between the private sector and the government as we work together to protect our citizens and defeat COVID-19.
At this the NAPA mass vaccination site, AMCHAM T&T is proud of the partnership we have forged with two private sector business organisations to assist the government’s efforts in making sure we reach herd immunity within the targeted timeframe. I want to say a special thank you to the Trinidad and Tobago Chamber of Commerce and the TT Coalition of Services Industries (TTCSI) for the camaraderie and collaboration in operationalizing this mass vaccination site housed here at the National Academy for the Performing Arts. And I also want to thank the Ministry of Health for the vaccines and for their guidance in establishing this site. I must also acknowledge other organisations such as SEWATT, TTMA and SATT, who had previously run mass vaccination sites and who willingly shared their learnings and experience with us that helped greatly in setting up this site.
To corporate T&T, thank you for your timely and invaluable contributions to the national COVID-19 vaccination campaign, be it monetary or in kind. This site will be operational for sixty (60) days and all expenses related to the site management, administration of 200 staff and volunteers, meals, requisite equipment, among other things, have all been sponsored by the private sector. Many of you have certainly answered the call for support and have truly been examples of what responsible corporate citizens look like.
A huge and heartfelt thank you to the volunteers who have been coming out each day to assist with this drive and that includes medical volunteers provided by the Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association, the members of which have been providing yeoman’s service in administering the vaccines at this site. T&T Medical Association President Dr Vishi Beharry and our Site Medical Director Dr Maria Bartholomew have simply been spectacular. I take this opportunity to also acknowledge all of our health care professionals who are on the front lines every day and providing gallant service to our country. The exceptional work that you have been doing over the past sixteen months does not go unnoticed by us in the private sector. And so we sincerely thank you.
I am happy to see people turning out to get vaccinated. It shows a level of understanding that vaccination is the only way we can truly prevail and come out of this pandemic. To those who are yet to be vaccinated, I encourage you to utilise the resources available on the Ministry of Health and the World Health Organisation websites and speak to your physician to answer any questions you may have to help you make an educated and informed decision. And when you do make that decision, know that we are here and ready to serve you efficiently and in comfort at the NAPA mass vaccination site.
And so according to our vaccination campaigns, Let’s Each Do Our Part and please come and Take D Jab Jab.
Ladies and gentlemen, I thank you very much for your attention.