Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh says tenders will hopefully go out next week for the building of chillers to store COVID-19 vaccines.
There are however certain matters that still need to be worked out.
One of these is determining what type of vaccine will be administered locally.
According to Mr Deyalsingh there is the Moderna vaccine which much be stored at -20 degrees Celsius, and then there is a Astra Zeneca-Oxford vaccine which can be refrigerated at about eight degrees Celsius (similar to other vaccines).
Regardless, the Minister says plans for the chiller at the Couva Hospital will go ahead as it will be needed either way.
He also again assured that vaccination plans are at an advanced stage, since preparation began several months ago.
Also speaking at today’s Health Briefing was Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram, who emphasized the importance of the COVID-19 vaccine, saying it could one day lead to the eradication of the virus.
To explain how this is possible, he used the example of smallpox, which is believed to have killed 300 million people in the 20th Century.
According to Mr Parasram the introduction and use of a vaccine led to the eradication of this deadly virus.
Now, he says children are no longer administered the smallpox vaccine because the disease no longer exists.
To emphasize this, he pointed out that in all his years as a doctor, he has never seen a case of smallpox.
With regard to the COVID-19 vaccine, the CMO says health workers and high-risk persons will be given priority in Phase One:
- Persons over the age of 60
- Persons with co-morbidities
- Health workers, and other frontline workers eg prisons, police, fire etc
- Those who are immuno-compromised