NO ONE who has reached the 14-day milestone of full vaccination has died from covid19 in Trinidad and Tobago, Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram told the Ministry of Health virtual media briefing on Wednesday.
While 13 individuals had died from catching covid19 after having begun inoculations, Parasram said 11 of these had got just their first dose, while two people had got their second dose but afterwards had not reached the 14-day milestone for the full effect of vaccination to be reached.
He said the majority of people dying from covid19 had not been vaccinated, noting that vaccines prevent death and severe illness.
Asked about questions over the efficacy of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) vaccine against the delta variant, he said most vaccines produce an effect to reduce hospitalisations regardless of the variant.
Glad that the J&J vaccine was a single-dose measure, he said it was "a very good vaccine" and "a very good tool to have" to help to further raise vaccinations rates.
In good news on the vaccines used in TT, he agreed with a reporter's observation that India's CoviShield brand of the AstraZeneca was now being said to give a lifelong boost to immunity rather than just eight months as initially expected, while a recent Sri Lankan study found the Sinopharm vaccine gave protection against the delta variant, although the study was not yet peer-reviewed.
Parasram presented figures on vaccinations and deaths. Some 262,976 people had got a first dose and 174,992 a second dose, he said, citing the ministry's Tuesday update.
The most common comorbidities were diabetes (30 per cent of cases of comorbidities), hypertension (32 per cent), asthma (18 per cent), other (15 per cent) and heart disease (two per cent.) Of the deceased, some 52 per cent were male and 48 per cent female, according to a slide he presented.
The age range of the deceased was: five per cent (age 0-19), 28 per cent (20-39), 32 per cent (40-59), 19 per cent (60-79) and 16 per cent (80 and over.)
Parasram said 85 per cent of deaths are among people over 50.
Later on, replying to a reporter, he said it was certainly not true to say TT had the world's highest death rate among infected individuals.
Asked the requirements for young children entering TT, he said on top of their initial PCR test done before reaching TT, after arrival they would need to be further tested. This was due to their posing a higher-than-average risk of infection because they cannot be vaccinated and cannot be made to wear masks.
Epidemiologist Dr Avery Hinds said the positivity rate, that is number of confirmed cases compared to number of people tested, was now at 25 per cent. He said this reduction could indicate lower levels of the virus circulating in the general population. He noted a slight rise in patients in the 60-plus age range, saying this was significant as they are a vulnerable group with pre-existing medical conditions.
With 1,000 people dead from covid19 as of Tuesday, Newsday asked if this virus was now TT's leading cause of death.
Hinds replied no, this remains non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as cardiovascular disease.
He vowed to supply more background details on the 1,000 deceased persons as they come to hand. Asked if the death tally distinguishes between individuals who had died "with covid19" from those who had died "from covid19," Hinds said the record was made of individuals with a positive lab test which will therefore include both categories.
He said the partial reopening of the economy meant TT's success against covid19 will depend on both the vaccination rollout and the continuation of public health measures.