Opposition senator Jayanti Lutchmedial has hit out at Government, saying not only have they mismanaged the process of securing free vaccines which could have inoculated several of our high-risk frontline workers, the Government also appears to have lost the opportunity to secure 351,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines from Pfizer.
She said based on answers received in response to questions asked by the Opposition in Parliament on Tuesday, “it is clear that the PNM government did not, for whatever reason, seize this opportunity to secure vaccines that could have saved the lives of our people.”
“The information in the public domain suggests that this order of Pfizer vaccines, which carries a 95% efficacy rate, was reportedly available for purchase on February 17th at a cost of US$8.4M.”
“The Minister of Health is now unable to say IF this order of vaccines is still available, and if it is, when we can expect it and at what cost.”
Lutchmedial said “Further, after investing $1.4m of taxpayer dollars into COVAX, as of today, we have absolutely no idea when we will receive the reduced allocation of 33,600 doses.
The vaccine purchase from Pfizer would have inoculated 25% of the roughly 700,000 citizens who must be inoculated to achieve herd immunity. Achieving herd immunity is directly linked to the reopening of schools, the reopening of the borders and the resumption of full economic activity.”
“The actions of this government with respect to securing vaccines wreaks of incompetence and abject failure which has become the hallmark of the PNM in their management of the Covid-19 pandemic.”
She said “Our livelihoods, our children’s education and our very lives are at risk as a result of the uselessness of Rowley and his gang of inept Cabinet Ministers who appear content to keep this country in a state of semi-lockdown whilst they plunder the HSF, supress peaceful dissent from civil society groups and curb the speaking time of the Opposition in the Parliament, all under the guise of managing the Covid-19 pandemic.”
She noted that T&T has the lowest level of vaccination in the Caribbean. “Several other CARICOM countries have managed to repatriate their nationals and procure vaccines from manufacturers, as well as take advantage of India’s generous “Vaccine Maitri” initiative. Meanwhile our Prime Minister is busy insulting Ambassadors and implying that other Leaders are “beggars”.
This vaccine fiasco will be the legacy of Keith Rowley. Just as Nero fiddled while Rome burned, Rowley will be remembered as the Prime Minister who was busy golfing when everything in our nation was collapsing.