By Prior Beharry
SINCE October 1, 2020, Trinidad and Tobago has been in bilateral talks with five suppliers for Covid-19 vaccines.
These companies are Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca; Sinopharm, Moderna and Sanofi.
This according to Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram at the virtual presser of the Ministry of Health on Monday.
He said the Health Ministry has a three-pronged approach to securing Covid-19 vaccines:
- The COVAX Facility (co-led by WHO, Gavi and CEPI) agreement signed on Sept 18th, 2020 and down payment of TT$10 million. On January 30th, 2021, T&T was allocated an initial 100,000 to 120,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine via the COVAX facility and should be delivered March 2021;
- Bilateral discussions are ongoing with vaccine suppliers since October 1st 2020, Pfizer, Oxford-AstraZeneca; Sinopharm, Moderna and Sanofi; and
- The use of a CARICOM initiative, where T&T is registered as a purchaser of vaccines via the African Medicine Council.
Dr Parasram said the initial allocation of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine will provide vaccines for at least 50,000 as it was a two- doses vaccine.
He said currently in T&T, facilities could store Covid-19 vaccines as follows:
- Four Chillers at 2 to 8 degrees with a capacity of 390,000 doses.
- Eight Ultra-Low Freezers at -20 degrees with a capacity of 1 million doses.
- Four Ultra-Low Freezers at -70 degrees with a capacity of 450,000 doses.
Dr Parasram said in the first phase being vaccinated will be healthcare workers, people 60 years and over, people with non-communicable diseases and essential workers such as teachers, police, fire service, defence force, sanitation workers airline staff.
In the second phase there will be the mass vaccination of people more than 18 years, he said.
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said there were 17,000 healthcare workers in T&T with 5,000 considered frontline workers.
He said since Covid-19 vaccination started last Wednesday, 440 people have received the vaccine in four days.
Deyalsingh gave the breakdown by regional health authorities as follows:
- Tobago Health Authority – 34
- North-Central Regional Health Authority- 293
- South-West Regional Health Authority- 113