The Prime Minister has said the 38,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines being held as a second dose for those who have already had a first dose will now be used for people who have not yet been vaccinated at all.
He said the decision had been taken because the Pan-American Health Organization had notified the Health Ministry that another shipment of vaccines from the Covax facility would arrive in May. He was speaking at a press conference in Tobago on Thursday afternoon.
He said these vaccines would come via Italy, but was unsure whether this meant they would be supplied by Italy or shipped through that country. He also pointed out that Italy had earlier banned the export of AstraZeneca vaccines.
Dr Rowley said even if the shipment did not arrive on time, more people would have had at least one shot, which had been shown to provide 60 per cent protection against getting a serious case of the virus.
Rowley reminded that vaccines are not available for purchase anywhere in the world. He said the Health Ministry had received news on Thursday that there had been contamination at a factory in Baltimore where the AstraZeneca vaccine was being manufactured.
That meant it was not likely that TT would receive any of the 60 million doses the US had promised to distribute worldwide.