IF and when TT receives a covid19 vaccine the first to receive it will be healthcare workers and the elderly, said Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.
He was speaking Wednesday during the Health Ministry covid19 media conference.
He was asked about the final clinical trials for a coronavirus vaccine developed by AstraZeneca and Oxford University that was put on hold after a participant had a suspected adverse reaction in the UK. Deyalsingh said it was not unusual for any phase three trial involving about 20,000 or 30,000 people to have an adverse effect.
"As a matter a fact it is a miracle they didn't have more. However because of the pace vaccines are being developed this does present a roadblock to that particular vaccine."
He reported TT has signed up to the Covax protocols (a mechanism designed to guarantee rapid, fair and equitable access to covid19 vaccines worldwide). He explained the protocols works like a mutual fund where the country buys into it and the Pan American Health Organisation invests in a portfolio of vaccines in trial.
"Whichever one comes out the best we access that."
He said when and if the vaccine is received it would be distributed firstly for health care workers and the elderly, who bear the brunt of the morbidity and mortality. Deyalsingh reported TT has ordered about 400,000 doses of the vaccine and would receive in the first instance 20 per cent of that figure or 80,000. He explained this will help TT to vaccinate in the first few months of the process hopefully all 17,000 health care workers, starting with front-line workers and working down, and the elderly simultaneously.
He said the game changer will be a vaccine and one that is safe, effective and has gone through all phases especially pre-clinical trials.
"We are cautiously optimism for early 2021. We wait and see. The virus sets the agenda."