Seecheran: Plan for new Covid-19 campaign “reactive”

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Seecheran: Plan for new Covid-19 campaign “reactive”

Government’s decision to roll out another covid19 vaccination programme from the first week of the new year has been described as “reactive” by Caroni East MP, Dr Rishad Seecheran.

Health Minister, Terrence Deyalsingh stated that the vaccination drive which will begin on January 6th and will target those who may not have finished their booster programmes, as well as, those who’ve never been vaccinated.

However, Seecheran said it is simply another example of Deyalsingh’s incompetence and ministerial negligence in managing this nation’s covid19 response.

He also questioned whether the ministry will boost citizens with the Sinopharm vaccine or whether attempts will be made to acquire the newly reformulated mRNA vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna.

Seecharan noted that during a Standing Finance Committee in October, he had asked Minister Deyalsingh to acquire the newly reformulated covid vaccines, tailored specifically for the omicron variant of the virus.

“Had we acquired these WHO-approved vaccines, through purchase or donation, many of our elderly and immunocompromised citizens would have had access to the best option internationally to protect themselves from an evolving threat.”

Seecheran said, “We are now again facing a potential surge of the virus, with only the Sinopharm vaccine available. This vaccine, while effective against the original strain of the coronavirus from 2019, has a much-reduced efficacy against the highly-contagious Omicron Sub-Variant XBB, which has surged to more than 50 per cent of covid cases in the northeastern United States and has the potential to spread quickly, as millions of American citizens embark on holiday travel.

“Six citizens have died from the covid virus over the past week, between December 14-20 and with viral levels expected to increase over the holiday period and into the Carnival season, we can expect an increase in the number of infections in Trinidad and Tobago.”

He said studies coming out of Hong Kong which has shown those who were vaccinated with “killed whole virus vaccines such as the Sinopharm vaccine” and not western mRNA vaccines, were at more risk of severe disease and death, if infected with the omicron sub-variant XBB.

“Minister Deyalsingh has also made no attempts to acquire the life-saving anti-viral drug Paxlovid, which can save 85 per cent of unvaccinated patients, when given soon after initial diagnosis of covid.
“Our citizens deserve better than a reactive, incompetent, and negligent Minister of Health, who has again been found to be sleeping on the job.”