Deyalsingh: Only 0.67 per cent of AstraZeneca thrown away – Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Terrence Deyalsingh -
Terrence Deyalsingh –

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said only 1,870 doses, or 0.67 per cent of the 277,200 AstraZeneca doses brought into TT had to be disposed of when they expired at the end of November. He said this was phenomenal.

Speaking at the Ministry’s media conference on Wednesday, Deyalsingh said, “We would have brought into the country 277,200 doses of AstraZeneca, and as of November 30, the expired amount, bearing in mind that the AstraZeneca vials come with overages, sometimes you get one or two doses over, was 1,870, which is 0.67 per cent of the doses issued, which is really good, 99.3 per cent of the AstraZeneca would have been used, which is phenomenal.”

The government had donated 37,000 AstraZeneca doses to various Caribbean countries, including 2,500 doses to the Bahamas, 3,000 doses to St Kitts and Nevis and 4,500 doses to Dominica.

Deyalsingh said details of the booster programme would be announced in a few days, as the mechanics were being set up.

“We have a strategic stock of 690,000 vaccines, including the 234,000 vaccines we recently brought in, 84,000 Sinopharm and 150,000 J&J. We also needed to build up stocks of consumables, so we have 21,903 disposable sharps containers, 1.1 million alcohol pads, 1.644 million needles, with an additional 1.25 million vaccine syringes for the traditional vaccination programme.”

He said in addition to the vaccines, infrastructure and policy were needed to launch the programme.

“Basically what you’re doing is revaccinating over 600,000 people who may want to access it. The vaccine are there, the consumables are there, we had a meeting with the CEOs yesterday, we’re having a further meeting with the general manager of nursing, all the primary health care physicians on Friday, to give them the blueprint, and once that is signed and settled, we will have more details for the public as to how it will be rolled out.”

Deyalsingh said the ministry is awaiting the go-ahead from Digital Transformation Minister Digitisation for the the launch of vaccine verification initiative.

“The initiative is under the management of Minister Hassel Bacchus at the Ministry of Digital Transformation, so we are working with him. He has informed me that the actual solution is ready and has been ready for a while. What we are doing is inputting the data, digitising the data from the paper forms into a database, so as soon as Minister Bacchus gives us the go-head it will be launched. I can’t give you an exact date.”

Deyalsingh said the ministry continues to work with the regional health authorities to ask nurses to get vaccinated. He said the current vaccination rate was 60 to 65 per cent.