One medical expert has sounded a warning that the country’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate could lead to the emergence of a new variant of the virus.

Speaking on CNC3’s The Morning Brew program, Professor Hariharan Seetaraman, of The UWI’s Critical Care Medicine Department, expressed concern over vaccine hesitancy and its impact.

According to Professor Seetaraman, data has shown that reluctance to the jab fuels more cases, which can lead to more mutations.

“Even in a small country like ours, if we have a major proportion of the population who are unvaccinated that is going to be a recipe for development of a new variant,” he explained. “I don’t want that to be called as a Trinidad variant, but it is possible.”

Professor Seetaraman maintained that contrary to reports and allegations, the COVID vaccine remains the best defence against the virus.

“The COVID vaccine is one of the very well tested vaccines.  Even with the very well tested vaccine, if you remember the Phase Three trials which came earlier for Pfizer and Moderna, it was 93 percent and 95 percent,” he noted.

Meanwhile, the Health Ministry has announced two more cases of the Delta variant.

Last evening, the ministry confirmed two additional cases of the COVID-19 Delta variant of concern, thereby pushing to five the total number of confirmed cases of the highly transmissible variant.

According to the ministry, the fourth and fifth patients recently returned to Trinidad from the United States and Guyana, respectively.  As per existing quarantine protocols, both persons provided negative PCR tests, which had been taken 72-hours prior to arrival.

As a result of their positive COVID-19 results from swabs taken after arrival, both patients were isolated at a state step-down facility.  The patients will remain in isolation until they meet the enhanced discharge criteria for persons with COVID-19 variants of concern.