Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh. Photo/TT Parliament
By Prior Beharry
TRINIDAD and Tobago will receive about 120,000 does of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from the COVAX facility.
And these vaccines are expected to be delivered in March.
This was revealed by Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh on Saturday evening during the Trinidad and Tobago Medical Association (TTMA) Virtual Presidential Inauguration and Conferring of Honours Ceremony 2021.
He said T&T has been allocated an initial 100,000 to 120,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine via the COVAX facility.
But a release from the Health Minister on Saturday stated that this will vaccinate at least 50,000 people since it is a two-dose vaccine.
It stated, “The Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid 19 vaccine has proven to be effective and can be stored in the standard vaccine refrigerator, which maintains a temperature of two to eight degrees Celsius.”
The ministry noted that the vaccine will be distributed after it receives final World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Authorisation.
It stated that it has taken a three-pronged approach to securing Covid-19 vaccines:
- The COVAX Facility (co-led by WHO, Gavi and CEPI)
- Bilateral discussions with vaccine suppliers
- Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Covid-19 Vaccine Initiative.
The COVAX facility is only one of the strategies currently implemented to source Covid-19 vaccines for T&T, the release stated.
The Ministry of Health stated that it was far advanced in its preparation to receive and distribute the vaccine locally.
It stated, “Necessary consumables for vaccination have already been stockpiled in significant quantities including one million alcohol swabs and 1.5 million syringes.
“At this time, the Ministry of Health has in-country capacity to store substantial quantities of doses of Covid-19 vaccines: over 300, 000 at two to eight degrees, 200,000 at -20 degrees and 200,000 at -70 degrees Celsius.”
The ministry stated that the national Covid-19 vaccine deployment will be implemented using two parallel pathways – the first managed directly by the public health sector and the second managed by the private sector with oversight by the Ministry of Health.
It noted that 23 public health facilities have been identified as future vaccination sites while plans were in place for the creation of four mass vaccination sites.
Deyalsingh had initially stated that in the first phase of vaccine distribution, T&T would have received about 50,000 dosed to vaccinate 25,000 people via Covax.