40,000 vaccines to arrive on island this weekend

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By Carlena Knight

Forty thousand vials of the AstraZeneca vaccine are scheduled to arrive in the country on Sunday evening, as the Ministry of Health looks to ramp up its vaccination programme.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas confirmed that development on Friday during the post-Cabinet Press Briefing, adding that 5,000 of those doses will be gifted to the people of Grenada.

“The decision was also taken that in lieu of the goodwill that was expressed to the Government of Antigua and Barbuda and its people by the government of Dominica, that we in turn have an obligation to lend a hand of assistance to our Caricom brothers and sisters in the island of Grenada.

“As it turned out, the number of Caribbean territories who have not been so fortunate to be at the forefront of the receipt of these gifts from the Indian government and, accordingly, are deserving of our support and you know, as it is often been said, whenever you receive goodwill, you should pay it forward. So out of our 40,000 units that we will receive on Sunday, the Cabinet has taken a decision to make a gift of 5,000 of these vaccines to the Government of Grenada,” Nicholas shared.

An additional 100,000 vials will be required within two months – for the second dose – and those will likely be provided, as requested, by the Serum Institute of India. 

This is not inclusive of the 40,000 COVAX doses.

As part of the effort to vaccinate approximately 80,000 persons in 35 days, the Health Ministry explained that five teams – each consisting five staff and nurses – will be dispatched to several centres each day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays.

This will take place during the month of March and the first week of April, to inoculate as many as 250 to 550 persons daily, over the 35 days.

Additionally, the plan accounts for two days being dedicated to Barbuda, in order to vaccinate approximately 1,000 adults living on the island.

A decision on the importation of additional Covid-19 vaccines could also be made next week, following the review of relevant data by the country’s Pharmacy Council.

Once that decision has been made, Cabinet indicated that it would be looking to import additional vaccines, including the Pfizer, Moderna, Sputnik V, Sinopharm, and Soberana2.

“We will make arrangements to avail ourselves of those as well, so it will give further options for us. The idea is that we want to make it available to every single person who is desirous of being vaccinated,” Nicholas added.

The Pharmacy Council has already given its approval for the AstraZeneca vaccine to be imported into the country, by way of an EUA (Emergency Use Authorisation) – and that approval also allowed the vaccine to be put to use on island.

If the findings on the other vaccines are positive, a decision could be made within days, and this will certainly delight some in the country, who have voiced their reluctance in taking the AstraZeneca shot.

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