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Monday 10 August, 2020

T&T to benefit from COVID-19 vaccine through PAHO partnership

File photo

File photo

When a suitable vaccine for COVID-19 comes on stream, Trinidad and Tobago’s citizens will be able to have as fair a chance as any other country to access it, through our partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). 

Minister of Health, Terrence Deyalsingh made the announcement as he read from correspondence between Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley and PAHO’s Dr Carissa Etienne, which assured that T&T would have ‘equitable access’ to the vaccine. 

“If and when you have a safe, reliable vaccine, regardless of its price of production, Trinidad and Tobago via the honourable Prime Minister... we are now firmly a part of the PAHO bargaining process to bring potential vaccines to Trinidad and Tobago,” he explained. 

Deyalsingh said in many circumstances, outside of this type of arrangement, many countries are unable to attain medical help for viruses like COVID-19 due to their economic standing. 

“Sometimes countries, because of their GDP national income, are shut out from accessing certain services. So, what this letter is saying (is that) regardless of the income classification of countries, they will be allowed equitable access to vaccines,” he said. 

This comes after PAHO’s collaboration with a world-reknown vaccine development firm in the United States, which pays keen attention to underdeveloped countries. According to Deyalsingh, in Dr Rowley’s response, he confirmed Trinidad and Tobago’s interest in attaining any possible vaccines. 

The correspondence means that PAHO will represent confirmed countries in the bidding for vaccine provision, rather than having individual nations having that burden. 

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