Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds has said the Health Ministry is beginning to wind down the vaccination distribution efforts as the ministry has dispensed half the doses of the covid19 vaccine it has in hand.
He said those with confirmed appointments will be accommodated for vaccination.
Speaking at the Health Ministry’s virtual media conference on Monday, Hinds said 38,638 vaccines had been dispensed thus far, and the second round of vaccinations from the current doses would begin on June 7.
“We have enough vaccines so that everyone who has received vaccines so far can receive their second dose of vaccines." He urged those who have received their first dose to come for the second "so they can complete their vaccination coverage and receive the full benefit of having been vaccinated.”
He said a total of 75,600 doses had been received thus far: 2,000 from Barbados, 33,600 from the Covax facility, and 40,000 from India. While calculations show half of this total is 37,800, some of the vials contained extra doses, and that was how additional people were vaccinated.
The announcement came as the world marked World Immunization Week.
Expanded Programme on Immunisation (EPI) manager Grace Sookchand said while the focus was currently on the covid19 vaccine, she encouraged people to be vaccinated against all vaccine-preventable diseases.
“The main goal of the campaign is to urge greater engagement around immunisation globally and the importance of vaccination in improving health and wellbeing of everyone, everywhere, throughout life. This year’s campaign aims to build solidarity and trust in vaccinations as a public good that saves lives and protects health.”
She said the ministry is spearheading the covid19 vaccine deployment programme, which began on April 6.
She said a total of 8,759 people were vaccinated at the mass vaccination sites at the Queen’s Park Savannah, Port of Spain, and the National Racquet Centre in Tacarigua from April 22-25.
“The immense success of the mass vaccination sites contributed significantly to the total vaccination figures.
"We continue to surpass projected daily uptake, which demonstrates the public confidence in the immunisation programme. The high vaccine acceptance generally across TT in this phase was phenomenal and suggests that Trinidadians and Tobagonians understand the importance of vaccinations to save lives.”
Sookchand said people with disabilities or any other challenges can go to the vaccination sites.
“Once they inform the security of their conditions, they would notify the staff inside, and they would make arrangements to facilitate those people without allowing them to wait long or have issues with accessing the vaccines.”
She said mechanisms will be put in place to vaccinate socially displaced people in the next phase of the rollout.
Hinds said shut-ins and other vulnerable groups will be part of the subsequent phases of the rollout as more vaccines become available and the rollout is extended.
He said people feeling adverse effects from the vaccine can report these to the facility where they were vaccinated.