200,000 more Sinopharm vaccines now due next week, says Browne

Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne.
Foreign Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne.

DR AMERY BROWNE, Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, said TT will receive 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccine from China next week.

He was speaking on Friday in the Senate on the Mid Year Review.

"Two hundred thousand from Sinopharm are due very early next week."

A shipment was originally scheduled to arrive on June 10, according to a statement by the Prime minister at a media conference on June 5.

When China donated an initial 100,000 doses as a gift to TT on May 19, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh had vowed to buy more.

On Friday Browne also said, "By the end of today, and I say that specifically, we would have had over 250,000 doses of covid19 vaccines in our country. This is an ongoing and aggressive acquisition effort, involving many persons both in TT and outside of TT."

Browne said that of this amount, some 130,000 doses had already been injected into recipients.

"We've got 100,000 doses from China, 40,000 doses from India, 2,000 from Barbados, 16,000 from St Vincent and the Grenadines, 9,000 from Bermuda, 10,000 from Grenada."

China's Sinopharm vaccine currently being administered in Trinidad and Tobago as part of the covid19 vaccine drive. - Photo by Lincoln Holder

He said TT had so far received about 100,000 doses bought from Covax.

"The majority of doses so far have been acquired free of charge, so it's not reflected on the public purse."

While these doses were not any cost in the Mid Year Review, he said that document reflected the cost of his ministry's staff and missions plus regional health authorities and health staff to respectively acquire and administer the vaccines.

"Eight hundred thousand one-dose Johnson & Johnson (doses) are scheduled and anticipated to arrive in August, but guess what? There is work going on right now led by the Prime Minister of TT to seek to advance the arrival of those doses."

These were due from the Africa Medical Supplies Platform.

"We are working hard to set up a meeting between the President of South Africa and the Prime Minister of TT to bring that arrival date to as soon as possible."

Browne said TT was working closely with several Caricom countries which had bought AstraZeneca vaccines through Covax but which were now seeing vaccine hesitancy among their populations.

"But guess what? We have a different profile here. We have a high vaccine acceptance. The need is here. We will not waste a single dose.

"There is an Air Guard aircraft in the air right now doing some collections from our generous neighbours. We are working with our neighbours and that's what diplomacy is about, to ensure that within the region, nothing is wasted and Caricom citizens can be made as safe as possible.

"So there are more vaccines coming in than even have been listed."

Browne said vaccines would also come from sources such as the US Global Programme, after talks between Rowley and US officials.

"All that will culminate, in my humble view, in TT becoming, in this region, one of the most vaccinated populations."

He hailed Rowley's advocacy at the WHO and his meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping, US vice president Kamala Harris, WHO head Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, plus the efforts of TT's diplomatic staff.

"Staff at our headquarters have been involved in meetings with the US, UK, Canada, the EU, Spain, France, Mexico, Cuba, Argentina, India, China, South Korea, Chile and many others, in addition to contacts with all of our Caricom colleagues.

"There are some exciting possibilities, involving Mexico, Argentina and some Latin American vaccines, as well as the Cuban potential."

He hailed the vaccination efforts of the "excellent staff" at the Ministry of Health, plus the private sector, as "offering an injection of hope."

"We can ensure that we don't have long lines or senior citizens in the sunlight. Those are unfortunate scenes."

Saying the Ministry of Health has gone back to the drawing board, he said with the pending arrival of more Sinopharm vaccines, he expected a vaccination effort that will be "more organised, respectful to our senior citizens, and collaborative."

Earlier, Browne rejected any idea that TT had been worst hit by the pandemic, saying the global debt-to-GDP ratio after over a year of covid19 was now 355 per cent.

"The Government and the Ministry of Finance have done quite well in managing the economy so far."


"200,000 more Sinopharm vaccines now due next week, says Browne"

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