Ministry of Health Media Conference on COVID-19 – Monday September 20th 2021

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh announced that 50,000 more doses of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines will be made available to the adult population before they expire at the end of November. This will ensure 25,000 adults receive the two-dose vaccine.

The demand for AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines has dropped significantly throughout the country with more persons requesting Sinopharm, Pfizer, and Johnson and Johnson doses at the various Health Centres and vaccination sites. Minister Deyalsingh stated that the demand for the AstraZeneca vaccine has “plummeted to almost zero.” The Health Minister said T&T has engaged the Ministry of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs and PAHO on donating the AstraZeneca vaccines to other countries.

Following recent news that the Delta variant was detected in two persons with no direct links to travel, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Roshan Parasram stated that investigations are ongoing to discover any possible travel links in both cases. He also confirmed that one case is based in St. George East, and the other in St. George West. The CMO said this latest news means that the Delta variant has been “established in the community for a few weeks well.”

Minister Deyalsingh said 1.1 million persons in this country, inclusive of children ages 12-18, are eligible for COVID-19 vaccination but the uptake has been slow. He said T&T is not yet in a good position to combat the Delta variant and urged parents to get their children vaccinated. He also noted that T&T should be averaging about 4,000 to 5,000 shots a day, but it is dropping week by week.

On news that Pfizer plans to submit data to the FDA for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) after a clinical trial showed that their COVID-19 vaccine is safe and effective in children ages 5 to 11, Minister Deyalsingh said Trinidad and Tobago’s policy is to have World Health Organization (WHO) look at data from 193 countries before making a decision.

On a question of recent large gatherings such as the funeral of Anthon “Boombie” Boney and the Ganesh Utsav festival, Epidemiologist Dr. Avery Hinds said large gatherings are still restricted and urged people to remember the Public Health Guidelines to prevent the spread of the virus.

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