CHIEF Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram said plans are on track for the storage and distribution of potential covid19 vaccines, once they arrive in Trinidad and Tobago.
He spoke during the Health Ministry's virtual news conference on Monday.
The vaccines are the Pfizer/BioNTech BNT162, Moderna’s mRNA-1273 and Oxford University/AstraZeneca’s AZD1222.
Referring to statements made previously about covid19 vaccines by Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, Parasram said the first batch of vaccines will be directed towards health care workers and "possibly persons from the geriatric homes."
He reiterated, "We had all spoken about getting vaccines in, in the first quarter of the year. We are keeping that timeline in mind as we have our discussions both bilaterally (with vaccine manufacturers from different parts of the world) and through Covax."
Parasram said the country was "in a position right now, if we do receive any of those vaccines, to actually be able to store and distribute them adequately to the population and we are building on that capacity as we go forward.
"We are in a position to distribute if we do get vaccines, let us say within the next couple of weeks."
The ministry is developing "three separate tracks" for storage and connected distribution channels for any vaccines which arrive in TT, he explained.
"We are looking at readiness for multiple storage conditions for different vaccines. We are looking at the two to eight degrees. We are looking at the -72 (degree), for example, like Pfizer, and as well as the -22 storage conditions for other types of vaccines."
On a case of a recipient having an adverse reaction to a covid19 vaccine, Parasram said investigations are ongoing.
Epidemologist Dr Avery Hinds said, "We do believe that some of the evidence indicates that the vaccine is safe for the majority of the world population, several ethnic groups having been tested."
While concerns have been raised in some countries about access of some ethnic groups to vaccines, Hinds explained those conditions do not apply in TT.
Prof Donald Simeon of the National Technical Advisory Committee said the group submitted a report on the efficacy of various covid19 vaccines to the ministry last Friday.