By Carlena Knight
MP for Barbuda Trevor Walker has publicly criticised the planning, or lack thereof, of the government and the distribution of the Pfizer vaccine.
According to Walker, there was not efficient planning in place as it was announced recently that there is now a limited supply of Pfizer locally, and because of this, both vaccinated and unvaccinated students can attend school.
“I asked myself what kind of planning is this. What kind of incoherent planning is this, because if you know this is going to be your policy, you ought to put things in place to ensure that those Pfizer vaccines that you received, instead of offering them to adults, you would have reserved them for the students because the minister of education knows the figure for the school population. So, instead of offering them to the adult population, you make the necessary preparations. We had enough Pfizer vaccines in Antigua and Barbuda that if planning was done properly, you would have had enough vaccines to vaccinate our children, but no. Now you have a situation where vaccinated and unvaccinated students are mixing in the schools and then the teachers can’t go back because they are not vaccinated; that makes any sense?” Walker chided.
In August of this year, the country received 17,550 doses of the Pfizer-BioNtech jab as a gift from the United States and began distribution later that same month.
Walker further mentioned that there are many other issues plaguing students outside of the vaccine policy that also need to be addressed.
“I have met students in my own community they have been out of school so long, they are so far behind because in Barbuda we have a situation where electricity comes off for like two hours at a time every day. How can you learn? How can you get online when you don’t have electricity? The students have issues. They have issues even with the devices. You have some people who cannot afford a device. I personally sometimes have to help out. Our children are being set back because of the lack of planning by this government,” Walker said.
He added that this is not a political issue but one that will need everyone to discuss and find solutions in order to move forward.