By Sue-Ann Wayow
THE Sinopharm vaccine that Trinidad and Tobago will be administering soon to the population can be given to pregnant and lactating women according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).
But the vaccines will not be given yet to those women in this country.
It has a 79% efficacy against Covid-19.
This information was revealed by Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram during the Ministry of Health’s virtual media conference on Monday. He focused on the interim guidance of the use of the Sinopharm vaccine developed by China National Biotec Group (CNBG) of which T&T is expected to receive in the hundreds of thousands.
Already, 57 countries or jurisdictions have granted Emergency Use Authorisation (EUA) on its own and 65 million doses have already been administered through emergency use programmes.
Dr Parasram said the Sinopharm vaccine will be administered to persons in the groups similar to those who were administered the AstraZeneca vaccine. Those groups approved by WHO include, persons 18 years and over, aged 60 years and above, persons with comorbidities that have an increased risk of severe Covid-19 effect, pregnant and lactating women, persons living with HIV and immunocompromised individuals.
He added, “Although WHO has granted EUA and EUL (Emergency Use Listing) for pregnant and lactating women, at this time, Trinidad is holding on that particular sub-group.”
He said discussions will be held with the Director of Women Health and others in the coming weeks to determine if the Sinopharm vaccine will be administered to such women.
Like other vaccines, it is also to be given in two .5ml doses and will stored at two to eight degrees Celsius.
The need for and timing of booster doses is currently being assessed in clinical trials. It is recommended that the same product be used for both doses and it can be administered with an interval of three to four weeks which is much less than the AstraZeneca which is eight to 12 weeks.
Dr Parasram said, “ It gives you that sort of rapid turnover of the population going from first to second dose in a very short period of time which is very good by way of going towards herd immunity getting mass vaccination.”
He said the 79% efficacy would come into effect some 14 days after the second dose.
The CMO advises, “You have to be mindful that if you have one dose of this vaccine or the other vaccine, it one, does not give you the optimal effect and two, you can still get Covid-19 and spread that virus to other people so we have to continue following the public health guidelines even after the second dose.”