Supermarket Association awaits clearance for vaccines – another worker tests positive – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Rajiv Diptee, president of the Supermarket Association. - Photo by Roger Jacob
Rajiv Diptee, president of the Supermarket Association. – Photo by Roger Jacob

AS another supermarket employee tested positive for covid19, the Supermarket Association (SATT) said it is still awaiting clearance from the Ministry of Health to secure vaccines for its members.

The association made a case for its employees to be given priority as they have been in the frontline since the pandemic was declared and the country went into lockdown in March 2020.

SATT had said it was exploring avenues to procure vaccines privately.

After some controversy about the private sector accessing vaccines for their workers, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh announced a partnership with ANSA McAL and SATT to work together to procure safe WHO-approved vaccines.

Although Government has accessed vaccines and has started the vaccination process on April 6, these vaccines are mainly for frontline workers and people 60 and over who may have underlying health issues.

SATT’s president Rajiv Diptee told the Newsday on Sunday, the private sector still has a zeal to purchase vaccines as his members are not immune.

He referred to a social media post from Tru Valu Supermarket on Saturday, that one of its workers at the Trincity branch tested positive for covid19.

Tru Valu said this was not related to a prior incident at the same location in March.

The company said upon learning of the case, pandemic protocols were immediately activated and health officials contacted.

Contact tracing of those identified as being in contact with the employee was also done and those persons were asked to self-quarantine at their respective homes.

Diptee said he was satisfied with the measures adopted by Tru Valu.

He said since last year, the association met with the principal medical officer and public health inspectors who laid out the protocols for them to observe in the event of someone tested positive.

“We understand what needs to be done and when a case happens, as it inevitably will, we just follow the protocols and inform the authorities.”

He said it has become a way of life to constantly sanitise and fog the premises as supermarkets have not been spared.

He said many of their workers have tested positive.

“It just does not make the news,” he said.

In terms of their application for vaccinations, Diptee said, “Our case is before the Ministry of Health and it is pending review.

“We have been told it is with the office of the Attorney General as there are certain legal issues surrounding that.”

He also said the association has not heard anything new from ANSA McAL, “So right now we are in a bit of limbo, waiting on the Ministry of Health.”