T&T’s first allocation of COVID-19 vaccines will be delivered by March 2021.
According to Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, this country has been allocated an initial 100,000 to 120,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine via the COVAX facility.
This initial allocation will provide vaccines for at least 50,000 persons as each recipient will be required to take two doses.
The Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine can be stored in the standard vaccine refrigerator, which maintains a temperature of 2 to 8 degrees Celsius.
AS such, the Health Ministry says the distribution process for this vaccine would align closely to existing vaccine protocols.
It adds that while the vaccine will be distributed after it receives final WHO Emergency Use Authorization.
The COVAX Facility meanwhile is just one way of securing COVID-19 vaccines for T&T.
According to the Ministry, they are also holding bilateral discussions with vaccine suppliers, and making use of the CARICOM COVID-19 Vaccine Initiative.
According to the Ministry, the necessary consumables for vaccination have already been stockpiled in significant quantities including one million alcohol swabs and 1.5 million syringes.
At this time, the Ministry has the capacity to store substantial quantities of doses of COVID-19 vaccines: over 300,000 at 2 to 8 degrees, 200,000 at -20 degrees and 200,000 at -70 degrees Celsius.
It adds that while significant steps have already been made in preparation for the national vaccine roll-out, a public/private sector partnership is required to administer vaccines to the national population in the shortest time. T
As such, the National COVID-19 vaccine deployment will be implemented using two parallel pathways.
The first will be managed directly by the Public Health Sector, while the second will be managed by the Private Sector with oversight by the Ministry of Health.
Additionally, it says while 23 public health facilities have been identified as future vaccination sites, plans are in place for the creation of four mass vaccination sites.