By NAN Staff Writers
News Americas, PORT-OF-SPAIN, Trinidad, Thurs. June 24, 2021: Looks like the 80 COVID-19 vaccine doses donated to Trinidad and Tobago by the US is all it will get for now.
Gavi, the vaccine alliance, has confirmed that the oil rich twin-island Republic does not qualify for a share of the 500 million vaccines promised by the United States to the COVAX facility for the world and the 14 million promised to Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Trinidad & Tobago is a self-financing participant of the COVAX Facility and as you will be able to see in our statement, the doses will be made available to 92 economies eligible for donor-funded vaccines via the Gavi COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC), as well as member states of the African Union,” the Gavi representative said in a statement quoted by the Trinidad Guardian.
On June 10, US President Joe Biden announced the donations which Gavi welcomed.
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley also referred to the vaccines promised by the US during Saturday’s COVID-19 media briefing, saying that it was a promise that had not materialized yet. However, he noted that “we have not seen anything come through and we don’t know if we will be qualified.”
Explaining how the US donation will work, the Gavi official told the paper that: “Under the plan, 200 million doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine will be delivered in 2021, starting in August, with another 300 million shipped in the first half of 2022.”
“The 500 million doses outlined in this plan are separate from an earlier decision by the US Government to share 80 million doses starting in June as part of a broader global vaccine sharing strategy,” the Gavi spokesperson said in the statement to Guardian Media.
With regards to how the vaccines will be distributed, the Gavi spokesperson said the COVAX facility aimed to “secure access to vaccines for all participating economies using an allocation framework formulated by World Health Organisation (WHO).”
“Our priorities at the moment are making sure that vaccines reach the groups of the population that need them the most as quickly as possible,” the Gavi spokesperson said.
The news comes as T&T continues to battle with a COVID-19 crisis that has so far claimed 768 lives and 7,809 active cases. Over 31, 200 have been infected.