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Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh has estimated that T&T will be paying US$343, 162 for the 100,800 AztraZeneca vaccine doses that will arrive at the end of March.

The entire cost for the 100,800 doses is US$504,000 which includes the actual cost of the vaccine, which is roughly US $4, shipping insurance, and all associated costs.

He added that T&T will not be paying $504,000 because the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has a grant from the European Union where they can assist countries that fall under CARPHA’s remit and T&T will be receiving from CARPHA US $160, 838 for the purchase of vaccines. This means that T&T’s Government will be paying only US $343, 162 for the first tranche of doses.

“These will be paid as soon as we get a firm quotation from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) which should be sometime next week. Once that happens the funds will be deposited into PAHO’s revolving fund. The first tranche should be here at the end of March. We have so far is a cost estimate, we are now waiting for the quotation,” he said speaking at a virtual Ministry of Health press conference yesterday.

So far almost 1,000 health workers have been vaccinated in T&T.

Once the vaccines arrive, the Ministry of Health will move into the distribution aspect of it.

This phase will target the high-risk individuals which mean vaccinating healthcare workers outside of the 1,000 that the Ministry of Health has vaccinated so far.

“In the five Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) there are about 5,000 healthcare workers, so we have another 4,000 to take care of. Then we do other healthcare workers, then we do those over age 60 and over. Once we get vaccines for phase two then we will take care of those we did not do in phase one. There will be persons with non-communicable diseases that we did not touch in phase one. Then we will target essential workers such as those in the police force, coast guards, army, teachers, principals, sanitary workers, parliamentarians and Custom Division workers.”

He said under the COVAX facility in phase one T&T will get an allocation of 20 per cent of the population in tranches.

“The first tranche has been approved through the COVAX facility that will be received in T&T and the exact number is 100, 800 doses. Our first tranche has been confirmed. We had to sign off on an indemnity agreement with AstraZeneca. Cabinet agreed on it and allowed the Ministry of Health to sign off on the indemnity agreement. Regulatory approval was also done.”

He also gave a breakdown of the costs of these doses that T&T will receive at the end of March.

Despite the reduction in the number of cases in COVID-19 he urged the population not to drop their guard and to keep abiding by health protocols. There have been over 554 new cases in T&T in 2021 so far.

Director of Chemistry, Food and Drugs Farz Khan, who also spoke at the virtual conference warned the population about purchasing drugs over the internet as he said the World Health Organization (WHO) data show that 50 per cent of these drugs are fake. This he said could cause harm.

“There are more drugs that are entering that are unregistered. It means that it has not gnome through our regulatory process and go to the Drugs Advisory Committee. What we have seen is unregistered drugs meant for a different market that enters the country. You may see drugs with a foreign language which is not meant for T&T.”

He added that there have been no reported cases of fake vaccines entering the country.

1 new positive case

There was one positive case over the previous 24 hours. There are currently 108 active positive cases. The number of recovered patients is now 7,458. The total number of positive cases from March 12, 2020, to the present, is 7,705 cases. The total number of deaths is 139. The total number of patients in hospitals is now 11. There are 247 patients in state quarantine facilities while 91 are in home self-quarantine.