Browne: Chinese vaccine details being worked out

Minister of Foreign Affairs Amery Browne. Photo by Jeff Mayers
Minister of Foreign Affairs Amery Browne. Photo by Jeff Mayers

FOREIGN and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne said on Thursday the arrival date of 100,000 doses of covid19 vaccine from China to Trinidad and Tobago is being worked out.

He told Newsday, "The arrival date is soon to be confirmed and emergency use listing (EUL) approval is being considered by the World Health Organization (WHO) during this period.

"The Ambassador of China remains in full contact with the Government of TT in this matter and we are being apprised by the involved agencies of all relevant developments."

On March 24, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said TT will receive a total of 173, 600 covid19 vaccines, from India (40,000), China (100,000) and Covax (33,600) in the coming months.

On March 30, the 33,600 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine arrived.

This constitutes the first batch of a total of about 100,800 allocated doses through Covax.

In a statement last month, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said, "This delivery is part of the first phase of deliveries for TT, and more vaccines are expected to arrive successively during the coming months."

According to the first round of Covax allocations, PAHO said TT is expected to continue receiving doses through May until it reaches the 100,800 doses specified by Covax.

In an e-mail on Tuesday, the Indian High Commission said the Indian government's donation of 40,000 Covishield vaccines to TT will arrive in Port of Spain on April 12.

In February, Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar wrote to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, asking India to donate covid19 vaccines to TT. To date, there has been no confirmation from either the UNC or the Indian government of whether there was a response to her request.

The Prime Minister subsequently said TT would not go “begging” for vaccines as gifts, and the government had not been invited to take part in India’s vaccine programme.

But after talks between Browne and Indian High Commissioner Arun Kumar Sahu last month, Government announced India had decded to send 40,000 doses of vaccine as a gift. Early last month, TT received 2,000 vaccines as a donation from Barbados from the 100,000 doses India had given that country.

On seeking help from the United States to access vaccines, a senior government official said, "The Embassy of TT has been following up on the matter." A second official added that Dr Rowley "has also been liaising with senior US Representative Maxine Waters on a range of issues on behalf of Caricom, including the issue of vaccine access."

On February 25, Rowley said Caricom would approach the US for assistance in acquiring additional vaccines. Last month, Browne said Rowley, in his capacity as Caricom chairman, had written to US President Joe Biden to that end.

Rowley, who has covid19 and is in quarantine at the Prime Minister's official residence in Tobago, held talks virtually with Waters on Wednesday and last month.


"Browne: Chinese vaccine details being worked out"

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