MEMBERS of the public were again warned on Saturday against accepting any covid19 vaccines offered by any entity other than the Government because these vaccines are fake, counterfeit, expired and could harm them. The warning came from Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh and Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram at the virtual health news conference.
Deyalsingh said the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) recently warned people against taking fake vaccines, issued outside of government vaccination programmes, because they "could be dangerous to your health."
He said PAHO has received reports of "counterfeit or unauthorised vaccines in some Latin American countries."
The minister said that the ministry's food/chemicals drug division works closely with the Customs and Excise Division and the Trade and Industry Ministry to prevent fake vaccines from entering Trinidad and Tobago. Deyalsingh said Cabinet recently approved measures proposed by the Trade and Industry Ministry to deal with all types of fake products which are attempted to be imported into TT.
Parsaram said the only authorised vaccines in TT right now are the AstraZeneca vaccines from Covax and AstraZeneca Covishield vaccines from the Indian government. He said these vaccines are being administered to the public through the ministry's designated covid19 vaccination sites and additional mass vaccination facilities established last week.
Parasram said anyone accessing covid19 vaccines outside of these sites "should not be legitimate." He urged citizens to continue to be vigilant and alert the authorities if they encounter anyone offering vaccines outside of the Government's vaccination programme.
Deyalsingh reiterated that Government wants to work with all bodies, including the private sector, to source covid19 vaccines safely and efficiently for the public. But he said hard questions must be asked of any entity trying to source vaccines.
He said these include the source of the vaccines, their batch numbers and expiry dates.