The Trinidad and Tobago government on Tuesday said it moving to ensure that the country benefits from the decision of the United States to share an additional 20 million doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines within the world in the coming six weeks.
Foreign And CARICOM Affairs Minister, Dr. Amery Browne, responding to an opposition question in the Senate on the issue, told legislators that he has also met with the Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy, Shante Moore, to discuss the matter soon after President Joe Biden had announced the new initiative.
Biden said Monday that the doses will come from existing production of Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine stocks, marking the first time that U.S.-controlled doses of vaccines authorized for use in the country will be shared overseas. It will boost the global vaccine sharing commitment from the US to 80 million.
“We know America will never be fully safe until the pandemic that’s raging globally is under control,” Biden said at the White House.
The announcement comes on top of the Biden’s administration’s prior commitment to share about 60 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which is not yet authorized for use in the US by the end of June. The AstraZeneca doses will be available to ship once they clear a safety review by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
“Very targeted advocacy continues,” Browne told the Senate, saying Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, who is also the chairman of the 15-member regional integration grouping, CARICOM, has been leading “the advocacy with contacts such as Maxine Waters, high-level influential figure in the US administration”.
He said discussions were also taking place with the Atlantic Council, a high-level think tank.
‘The Prime Minister has written multiple times to President Biden and has received responses and that communication and engagement is ongoing,” Browne said.
He told legislators that bearing in mind that the 80 million doses “is a welcome scaling up of a prior 60 million that was announced by President Biden.
“This is welcome, this is good news for Trinidad and Tobago and its public servants are well engaged and working hard pressing home this issue and we look forward on behalf of this country, on behalf of CARICOM and on behalf of all small developing countries to bringing home benefits for our people based on this initiative,” he added.