Caroni East MP Dr Rishad Seecharan, is calling on government to make contact with the Government of India, to request COVID-19 vaccines.
This follows India’s donation of 100,000 vaccines to Barbados. Barbados in turn donated 2,000 to T&T.
Seecheran said “Between mid-January 2021 and the second week of February 2021, the Government of India has exported Covid-19 vaccines to 20 countries, helping save lives and reopening battered economies.”
He said “These exports are part of India’s Vaccine Diplomacy and are targeted to countries in which it has cordial relations and are in need of vaccination support during this global pandemic.
Vaccines have been shipped to countries in West Asia, Africa and the Americas. About 6,270,000 doses are gifts to friendly countries.
Seecheran said as a member of COVAX facility – the initiative for equitable vaccine distribution created by the Global Alliance for Vaccines & Immunization (Gavi), Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) and WHO, India is both a recipient of vaccines from the facility, as well as, a supplier of vaccines. These donations have been made outside the COVAX facility, through bilaterally agreements, as gifts or grants of the government of India.
He noted that “Under the Vaccine Maitri commitment, India has already been shipping consignments of Covid-19 vaccines manufactured in India – Covishield, and Covaxin by Hyderabad-based Bharat Biotech, to its neighbours.
On 23rd January 2021, the Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi seeking access for 200,000 doses of the Covishield vaccine for Barbados, as the island country was in great need for vaccines to provide immunization coverage for a large segment of the population of 287,000.
On 5th February 2021, Prime Minister Mia Mottley expressed her gratitude to the Indian government and the people for “most generous” donation of COVID-19 vaccine doses.
Seecheran also pointed out that last week Dominica received a first batch from India, with a second batch on the way. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit said that he did not imagine that the prayers of his country would be answered so swiftly.
The Caroni East MP said “It remains to be seen how our country’s self-proclaimed, “Number 1 Salesman” will react to such developments, given that a large number of our citizens are currently stranded in foreign countries, unable to return to the country of their birth, with an Exemption.”
“The more citizens we are able to vaccinate, the quicker we will be able to reopen our borders. Prime Minister Rowley, ask your Minister of Health to make contact with the Government of India, for the safety and well being of the citizens of Trinidad and Tobago.”
India has delivered vaccines to the following countries thus far:
Bangladesh – 2,000,000
Myanmar – 1,500,000
Bhutan – 1,500,000
Nepal – 1,000,000
Sri Lanka – 500,000
Afghanistan – 500,000
Maldives – 100,000
Mauritius – 100,000
Bahrain – 100,000
Oman – 100,000
Barbados – 100,000
Dominica – 70,000
Seychelles – 50,000