Caroni East MP Rishad Seecheran wants the Prime Minister to explain why Trinidad and Tobago did not pre-order vaccines from Pfizer when they were given the opportunity to.
Speaking at a UNC press conference on Sunday, Seecheran said the Prime Minister has repeatedly stated that vaccines cannot be purchased in the global market.
But, Seecheran pointed out that just this week, Pfizer’s Chief Executive Officer in an exclusive interview with Bloomberg, said that low and middle income countries had opted not to order the company’s Covid-19 shot in 2020, when they were available for pre-purchase.
Chief Executive Officer Albert Bourla of Pfizer stated, “I reached out to all nations asking them to place orders so we could allocate doses for them, I became personally concerned with that and I reached out to many heads of middle and low income countries by letter, phone and even text to urge them to reserve doses because the supply was limited.”
Seecheran said “I am asking the question to PM Rowley, did the Pfizer CEO or any of his agents reach out to you to place a pre-order in 2020, pending WHO approval?”
He said “the Prime Minister missed the chance to acquire Pfizer vaccines for Trinidad and Tobago in 2020 and on realizing his mistake, the Prime Minister then entered into talks with China’s Sinopharm in 2021, prior to its Sinopharm achieving WHO Approval.”
Seecheran asked “Why did he not do it with the world renowned pharmaceutical company Pfizer in 2020, Albert Bourla is on record saying that Pfizer reached out to all countries?
Pfizer now has WHO Approval.”
“With our pre-order in place, vaccines would have been reserved for us and shipped to Piarco upon WHO Approval.”
Pfizer’s CEO Bourla has also announced that 40% of its doses, or more than 1 billion shots, will go to middle and low-income countries in 2021.
Pfizer is on track to deliver 3 billion doses this year to more than 116 countries and they recently received authorisation by the US Food and Drug Administration for use in children aged 12 to 17 years.
Seecheran said “We here in Trinidad and Tobago, the richest CARICOM nation does not have one dose for our Secondary School Students.”