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Pharmaceutical companies may be explored as a source for COVID-19 vaccine supplies in addition to the 100,000-120,000 vaccines from the COVAX facility which T&T is getting since supplies still have to be sought from elsewhere.

Indicating that last Friday in Parliament, Prime Minister Keith Rowley said the Government will explore all authorised sources.

He was replying to UNC MP Roodal Moonilal’s query whether Government has approached pharmaceutical companies directly for vaccine supply. Moonilal had also grilled Rowley on supplies Barbados has been gifted with by India, Guyana’s vaccine supply and whether Government had rejected any approach from India to give T&T vaccines.

Rowley had said he knew of no approach from India to give T&T vaccines and no rejection. He said Barbados last week sent 2,000 vaccines to T&T out of the 50,000 they were gifted by India.

On the pharmaceutical companies query, Rowley said given that T&T was in line to get only a portion of what is required to bring the population up to the level of vaccines needed, “We’re exploring all authorised sources available and like other countries even as we’re getting our COVAX quota (available to T&T), we have to look for other suppliers elsewhere.”

He said the vaccine arrangements were such that T&T couldn’t just go and take vaccines and accelerate its place in the “line”.

But Rowley added, “The international market today is such that we have to be careful we’re dealing with authorised sources and that we get vaccines as opposed to placebos.”

Rowley said T&T has also been in talks with China since last October 20 to source vaccines from there and this is being followed up. He was confident T&T would obtain this.

On when the 2,000 doses donated by Barbados will be given to the population, he said he wasn’t advised of that and it was in the hands of the Chief Medical Officer and Health Ministry. He couldn’t give a specific date when T&T’s first vaccine would be given to a citizen as this country has to wait until authorised to receive vaccines.

Rowley said he could not’t comment on Barbados getting vaccines from India and the issue was viewed in a certain way. He added that if other countries like Guyana were getting different vaccines, it had nothing to do with T&T.

On Patriotic Energies and Technologies bid for the Guaracara refinery, which was submitted to Government recently, Rowley said a debt management report from Corporation Sole (Finance) on the issue will be sent to Cabinet next week for examination. Patriotic recently submitted a third bid, with assurances on its financing.