High-ranking Government officials are currently in discussions with their counterparts in the United States to work out how this country could access the millions of COVID-19 vaccines being donated by the US.
During the Urgent Questions session in Senate yesterday, Opposition Senator Wade Mark asked Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh about T&T eligibility for the vaccines injected by the US into the Covax facility.
“(It) is actively being discussed amongst the following parties: the White House, PAHO (Pan American Health Organisation), CARPHA (Caribbean Public Health Authority), the Office of the Prime Minister and the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs,” Deyalsingh said.
Guardian Media has reported that Gavi, the body that manages the Covax facility, confirmed that T&T did not qualify for a share of the 500 million doses being donated by the US.
A Gavi spokesman told Guardian Media that because T&T is a self-financing member of the facility, it did not qualify.
The US stash of vaccines is for 92 donor-funded nations.
Deyalsingh also said that it was “premature” to give a timeframe for the conclusion of the discussions to acquire vaccines but said that the discussions were “active consideration” by all five participants.
It was also reported yesterday that T&T is currently engaged in talks with the US about a donation of vaccines through CARPHA instead of the Covax facility.
Mark also asked what would happen if this country failed to qualify for the vaccines and asked for a possible Government response to T&T failing to access those vaccines and whether the vaccine rollout would be impacted.
But Deyalsingh said that it would be “premature” to accept Mark’s assertion at this point.
Deyalsingh asked that Mark be patient and wait for “the fruit to ripen out of the discussions”.
“It is being actively pursued,” he said.
“The Government has had many irons in the fire and for that reason, we have imported into the country 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines into the country last week. We also have another 300,000 coming in July,” he said.
“Our bilateral talks are paying rich dividends and that is because the Government has been acting from day one to procure vaccines approved by the WHO,” he said.