Pearl Quinn-Williams, the United Progressive Party’s Candidate for St. John’s Rural North, responded to a distress call put out by scores of students and their parents on Saturday, November 20, when testing of unvaxxed students took place.
Reports reaching the Party said the adults and children had been waiting at the Ministry of Health’s headquarters for hours – in the blazing sun and heat – and that no drinking water had been provided by either that Ministry or the Ministry of Education.
Accordingly, Quinn-Williams says she made some calls to members of the business community, who responded with donations, and her appearance with the bottled water was welcomed even by the nursing staff.
She says she was horrified that the plans for testing were so poorly thought-out and did not consider the weather. In fact, Quinn-Williams says, she was told that two students had been taken away by ambulance after falling ill at the Ministry’s location.
An irate mother called Observer Radio in response to the Candidate’s report. She, too, expressed displeasure at the treatment meted out to the parents and students who had turned up for testing ahead of resuming face-to-face classes on Monday.
Late last week, the Ministry of Health put out a notice instructing parents that testing of unvaccinated secondary-schoolers would take place at the Ministry of Health parking lot on Saturday.
However, the woman complained that all of the Ministry’s vehicles were parked in the lot, leaving only enough space for a tent to be erected for the exercise.
She says that the Ministry and its officials failed to plan properly, and then wanted to penalize the students and parents. The mother says the behaviour of the healthcare professionals also left a lot to be desired.
According to the woman, Antigua and Barbuda seems to have become a state where the vaccinated have more rights than the unvaccinated and are also treated better.
However, she says the Government is creating a situation among young people which it will regret at some later time.
The frustrated mother is appealing to Ministry of Health officials and other healthcare professionals to get their act together for the next occasion, since unvaccinated students will have to be tested every two weeks.