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Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

“You may hate the Government but don’t hate Trinidad and Tobago.”

This was the response Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh had yesterday for Opposition leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar, after she wrote to the India Prime Minister Narendra Modi to ask for COVID-19 vaccines.

He made the comment during the Ministry of Health’s press conference, saying he was disappointed Persad-Bissessar had characterised T&T as “reeling from COVID-19.”

“I am so disappointed that as a former prime minister she would seek to characterise this country like that,” he said.

Persad-Bissessar reportedly wrote to Modi on February 23 seeking his intervention via a vaccine donation so this country could combat its challenges against the virus.

Yesterday, however, Deyalsingh said a rolling seven-day average of five cases is not “reeling.”

Deyalsingh said he also wanted to clear up the sale of vaccines by local distributors. He said as of now, vaccines brought into the country through the COVAX facility do not pass through a third party or local agent.

“The consigning for the vaccine is the country, PAHO does not deal with individual firms,” he said.

He said the narrative being put out by the Opposition about financiers acquiring the vaccines can scare manufacturers or countries away from dealing with T&T.

“You now have the companies we are trying to deal with asking us what kind of country is T&T, they don’t want their reputations damaged,” Deyalsingh said.

“We want vaccines here,” he continued.

The Health Minister said just like in the past, vaccines are consigned to the ministry and NIPDEC but there will come a time when it will become available to local distributors. He said the UNC’s actions were not helpful and asked Persad-Bissessar to be part of the solution and not part of the problem.