Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director of CARPHA said that the organisation has been able to assist member states with the downpayment to the COVAX facility, which will allow access to Covid-19 vaccines when they are available.
Speaking at a virtual media briefing on Friday, Dr. St. John said that CARPHA has an agreement with the European Union (EU) and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) to allow for over $2 million Euros to be spent on the purchase of vaccines and treatments.
Dr. St. John confirmed that the money was transferred in record time, adding that $1.8 million from the fund will be used to assist the following countries:
- Antigua and Barbuda
- Cayman Islands
- British Virgin Islands
- Turks and Caicos
- Suriname and others
She said the vaccines will only be able to cover 20% of the population, in the first instance, and will cover persons such as healthcare workers and those most at risk of contracting the Covid-19 virus.
Dr. St John said that there are funds available for the other member States to purchase treatments in the future.
She said Trinidad and Tobago would benefit from the Covid vaccine later as they made their own downpayment.
She said, “They did not use CARPHA’s support at this time. They have requested support from us later when the vaccine is available.”
She added that T&T, however, has been guided by PAHO but made the payment to GAVI which is overall in charge of procuring the vaccine.
At a press conference a few weeks ago, Deyalsingh said that the Government had signed on with PAHO who invested in a project known as COVAX, which will enable the country to receive vaccines when the trial periods are over.
In Parliament earlier this week, Deyalsingh said that the Government has approved US$9.7million to be spent on purchasing a Covid-19 vaccine.
Deyalsingh said that 280,000 vaccines would be available in the first instance.
As it relates to the cost of the vaccines, Dr. St. John estimated that they may cost US$10 per dose.
She said that CARPHA had calculated how to divide the euros, adding that funds are still available for countries that have made other arrangements.
In terms of how much money was spent on the vaccines, Dr. St. John said that the sum of money was calculated base on what the vaccine is likely to cost.
She said the downpayment would reflect a percentage of the population that the Government has decided to cover with the vaccines.
She said CARPHA used a formula that involved assessing countries’ ability to detect background diseases such as obesity and smoking in determining how to proportion the money to the 26 member states.