Pan American Health Organization representative Dr Erica Wheeler said TT meets the requirements of readiness to receive the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, which was rigorously tested by PAHO.
And she also assured that this particular vaccine was safe following cries that the AstraZeneca developed COVID-19 vaccine is not as good a vaccine as the more popular Moderna or Pfizer vaccines.
The concern stems from the efficacy rates of the vaccines. The AstraZeneca vaccine has an efficacy rate of between 60 and 70 per cent while the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines have an efficacy rate upwards of 90 per cent.
Dr Wheeler said “You may also note that the flu vaccine has a variable efficacy of between 40 and 70 per cent yet all the countries of the world take the flu vaccine. So this is not a case of a second class vaccine.”
“The reason why Trinidad and Tobago is receiving these vaccines, as it said in the communication we received (from COVAX), is that there is a shortage of the Pfizer vaccine and decisions have to be made about who gets Pfizer- it’s limited- and who gets other vaccines,” she added.
Dr Wheeler “There is no such thing as WHO approving a second rate, second class, or unsafe vaccine because we have very stringent international codes, some of which are also legal, that we must follow before any vaccine is approved for global use.”
Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said the AstraZeneca vaccine comes with a major advantage, in that it is stored at two to eight degrees, which is the current storage temperature for the current flu vaccination.