Trinidad and Tobago has gone from a COVID-19 vaccine drought to a deluge, with now over one million doses of various vaccines in hand. As of yesterday, residents of the country have been inoculated with three World Health Organization (WHO)-approved COVID-19 vaccines – the Sinopharm, Pfizer, Oxford/AstraZeneca.
The availability of different vaccine brands has also seen an increase in daily vaccinations, as the country has administered some 12,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines in just four days.
Tracking the arrivals
T&T administered the first dose of a World Health Organization-approved COVID-19 vaccine on February 17, 2021. The first round of immunisations came from a 2,000-dose donation of AstraZeneca vaccines from the government of Barbados. These doses were initially donated to Barbados by the government of India.
The second round of vaccines arrived from the much-anticipated COVAX Facility, a global effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the WHO. On March 30, 2021, 33,600 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine, manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea, arrived at Piarco International Airport.
The government of India donated 40,000 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca, which arrived in T&T on April 13.
From May 2021, a steady stream of vaccines entered this country’s borders. Through purchases, T&T received its second and third COVAX shipments, on May 12 and August 11, totalling 67,200 Oxford/AstraZeneca doses, as well as two shipments of purchased Sinopharm doses from the government of China, numbering 1,000,000.
An additional 52,500 Oxford/AstraZeneca doses originated from donations from several small islands, including St Vincent and the Grenadines, Bermuda, Grenada, with 5,000 Sinopharm doses coming from Antigua and Barbuda.
Smaller donations were also given to government ministries, including 400 Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine doses from the United States to the Ministry of National Security on June 13 and 20 Johnson and Johnson COVID-19 vaccine doses from South Africa to the Ministry of Sport and Community Development on July 23.
So far this month, larger donations have come from Canada, with 82,030 Oxford/AstraZeneca doses and the first tranche of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines, 305,370 doses out of 907,920, donated by the United States.
As of yesterday, the country had received 1,688,120 doses of a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine in hand, with 1,105,00 Sinopharm, 305,770 Pfizer, 277,330 Oxford/AstraZeneca, and 20 Johnson and Johnson. These vaccines can fully vaccinate 844,070 people across Trinidad and Tobago.
Vaccinations up this week
By the end of July, the daily vaccination rate had halved, with the seven-day rolling average of daily doses administered dropping from a mid-July peak of over 15,000 doses a day to near 6,500 by the first week of August.
While health officials and the Prime Minister alike pleaded with the country to get vaccinated, only until the Oxford/AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine was available for the public on August 9 did the daily vaccination rate rapidly rise. The country has administered 12,096 first doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccines in the last four days, versus 9,124 first doses of the Sinopharm vaccine. While the Pfizer vaccine is not yet available to the public, 20 doses of the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccines were administered and reported by the Ministry of Health.
Reiterating the rapid increase in daily vaccinations this past week, three of the top five daily jumps in vaccines administered in 24 hours occurred on August 10, 11 and 12. Yesterday, marked the highest daily jump in daily vaccinations for the pandemic to date.
From the latest Ministry of Health data, 709,963 doses have already been administered as first or second doses across both islands, meaning 58 per cent of the country’s vaccine supply remains. Disaggregating by doses, 438,310 people have received at least one dose of a WHO-approved COVID-19 vaccine, while 271,653 people have been inoculated with two doses.
Journey to herd immunity
Before the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine approval for children aged 12 to 18, the Ministry of Health’s target for herd immunity, or 75 per cent uptake in the vaccine-eligible population, was inoculating 738,071 people.
For comparison, prior to new WHO-vaccine approvals, excluding those under 18, pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and immunocompromised, the country’s total vaccine-eligible population is 984,095.
As of yesterday, the country has reached 59.4 per cent of the herd immunity target with first doses and 36.8 per cent of the same target for second doses, excluding children, pregnant and breastfeeding mothers.