Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh has said the the latest shipment of the Sinopharm vaccine from China means 60 per cent of the adult population will have been vaccinated.
The shipment of 800,000 doses, which can vaccinate 400,000 people with the required two doses, arrived on Tuesday,
Deyalsingh was speaking during the ministry’s virtual press conference on Wednesday.
He said in addition to the 200,000 people the ministry hopes will be fully vaccinated by the first week in August, Tuesday’s shipment means 600,000 people in all will have received a covid19 vaccine.
The adult population, he said, is about a million people.
“Yesterday was probably the most significant day in the history of Trinidad and Tobago when it comes to public health response,” said Deyalsingh. “Just as significant as in the old days of eradicating polio and smallpox.”
Deyalsingh thanked the Sinopharm company and the people of China, who, he said, “really responded to our calls.”
He said bilateral agreements have been signed with China and Tuesday’s shipment will help the country move from managing covid19 to controlling it.
“Think about when we started this drive in April, when we had a small amount of Sinopharm vaccines. Our target (at the time) was about 1,000 (shots) a day.
“Now we are in a position – with the 109 health centres for the first time being a part of the grid, the six mass vaccination sites under the Regional Health Authorities (RHAs) and the private sector with their two current sites and more to come next week – to vaccinate 20,000-25,000 people per day.”
He said the vaccines will be made to a wider range of groups, including the retail industry, places of religion and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
“If we do that, by the end of September…if every person who is offered the vaccine takes it, we would have vaccinated 600,000 people.
"We have to find a way to live with the virus, but we have to control it. Our national economy needs to be open.”