Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh, left, with Dr Don Martin, the Medical Chief of Staff at the Couva Hospital and Multi-Training Facility. Dr Martin was the second person to get the Covid-19 vaccine in T&T on Wednesday. Azlan Mohammed/AZPNews
By Prior Beharry
MINISTER of Health Terrence Deyalsingh is now admitting that the 2,000 Covid-19 vaccines being used to immunize Trinidad and Tobago healthcare workers were a gift from Barbados.
In two different press conferences on Wednesday, he said the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines were sent by India to the Caribbean region and Barbados was the point of distribution.
At the virtual media conference of the Ministry of Health on Wednesday morning, AZPNews.com asked how was it that Barbados got the vaccines before T&T. What did they do that we didn’t do?
Deyalsingh replied, “It’s not that Barbados got vaccines before us. This was a gift to the region from India and they used Barbados as a focal point or a central point.”
And on Thursday afternoon at another news conference at the Couva Hospital and Mutli-Training Facility where the first set of the vaccines from Barbados were being administered, Deyalsingh was questioned about it again from another member of the media.
He was asked if Barbados had given 2,000 of its supply to T&T?
Deyalsingh said, “No, no, no, no, no. The Government of India made a gift to the region using Barbados as a central depository. From that we got 2,000.”
But a few hours later, just before 9pm pm Wednesday, the ministry issued a release stating that Deyalsingh was misinformed and apologised for the error.
The release stated, “The Minister confirms that the 2,000 doses of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine were, in fact, a gift given to T&T from Barbados. This was generously provided from the stock of vaccines that the Government of India provided to Barbados for their use.
“The Minister of Health was unfortunately misinformed and apologies for this error.
“The Minister also offers his deepest gratitude to the people of Barbados for this kind gesture of regional collaboration.”