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I could not get a tetanus shot for over three weeks! – Bing

I could not get a tetanus shot for over three weeks! – Bing
Left to Right: LUKE BROWN, Minister if Health & Dwight ‘Bing’ Joseph


A popular radio personality has supported parliamentarian, Daniel Cummings’ claim that there were no tetanus vaccines in this country for six months of last year.

Cummings and health minister, Luke Browne disagreed in Parliament during the presentation of the 2019 Estimates, when Cummings alleged that there were no tetanus shots in the country and that had been the case for six months.

Browne rose on a point of order to say that Cummings was misleading the House and that “without a shadow of a doubt”, it was not true.

Two days later on January 31, a press release was issued by the the Ministry of Health, which said that no time during the last 18 years has there been no tetanus vaccinations in the country.

However, on that same day, radio talk show host, Bing Joseph, said during the OMG in the morning show on Boom 106.9 FM, that he was unable to receive a tetanus shot from any health care facility in St Vincent for a period spanning almost a month.

He said late October, early November, he injured his foot as was advised to get a tetanus shot, but after trying for over three weeks, he was unsucessful.

“By this time, I am scared and worried. Not one, including AnE, not one of the health centres that I contacted had the tetanus vaccination and I called around to every single one that I knew and could have gotten on to. Not one. The last one told me, we were out and we do not know when we would get,” Joseph said on radio.

The radio personality said that the health minister was the one misrepresenting information in Parliament.

“I ain’t trust them people dey. Yuh see that? These are the things that make you lift your eyebrows and say, ‘For the love of God!’ It makes you then question a lot of these things people say,” he said.

Joseph said after he heard the debate between Cummings and Browne in Parliament, he called the first health centre he had gone to, identified himself and asked if they now had the tetanus vaccines.
The lady said, ‘Yes. We do.’ I said, ‘When did you get?’ She said, ‘Recently.’”

SEARCHLIGHT has learnt that in 2018, there was a delay in the arrival of vaccines from the supplier, which caused a shortage between April and November, but there was never a time when there was no tetanus vaccine in stock.

Cummings, at a press conference this week, said that towards the end of last year, the government received vaccines, but it took them some time to distribute, despite the request of many clinics and hospitals.

“Why would anybody want to hide the fact that medicine was out? Listen. We know that many of the tests at the government laboratory are often not able to be performed. Why? Not that the equipment isn’t there or it isn’t working but more often than not, the reagents necessary to conduct the tests are not available,” the parliamentarian said.

The parliamentary representative for West Kingstown alleged that many of the reagents used for tests in public laboratories here are purchased through local suppliers and often times credited by the government.

He also alleged that the government has been so recalcitrant in its payments to the regional pharmaceutical procurement service, that the supply of medicine to this country was halted at one point.
However, Luke Browne told SEARCHLIGHT yesterday that the government is up to date on its payments to its main supplier of pharmaceuticals.

He said that “it is not for me to go down in history and so on and talk about times before my time. The government has never been recalcitrant in relation to its obligations and currently, we are actually up to date and ahead of schedule with our main supplier of pharmaceuticals to St Vincent and the Grenadines, the OECS PPS.We have paid up our obligations and there is actually a surplus on our account which would go towards orders in the future so that at this moment is just not correct.”

He also said that the situation of reagents in this country could be clarified by persons working in the laboratory, but as far as he was aware, the reagents used do not come from local suppliers.

The health minister said that Cummings has been “on a streak where he is not being careful with the truth”. He described it and unfortunate and said that persons should seek clarification whenever anything like this comes up.