Surplus of AstraZeneca vaccines available; Sputnik V vaccines nearing expiration

According to the government, the batch of Sputnik V vaccines on island are nearing expiration and that can be partially attributed to the reluctance of some major territories to acknowledge the Russia-developed jab as an accepted vaccine.
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By Orville Williams

[email protected]

While residents are continually being urged to get vaccinated so that the country could reach herd immunity, the government has assured that there are enough AstraZeneca vaccines on island to inoculate much of the remaining eligible population.

That assurance came yesterday from Information Minister Melford Nicholas, who said additional vaccines are also available via arrangements with neighboring territories.

“In respect of the AstraZeneca vaccine, which – up until the arrival of the Pfizer – was the vaccine of choice, more than 70 percent of the vaccines that have been given have been the AstraZeneca.

“We still have a copious amount of AstraZeneca vaccines and…there are times when we have allowed other Caribbean states to get some of [them] and vice versa, so there’s been a flux in the use of [that vaccine] across the Caribbean and we do have access to more to be able to satisfy the demand”, he said.

Nicholas told media last week that talks were being held with the governments of Canada and St Vincent & the Grenadines, in regard to some AstraZeneca vaccine doses donated by the Canadians. He disclosed yesterday, that “both those two states are working to assist us in getting some more of these AstraZeneca vaccines”.

As for the other Covid-19 vaccines currently in stock – Johnson & Johnson, Sinopharm and Sputnik V – the Information Minister said only one of the lot is nearing expiration, and the reason for that can at least partially be attributed to ‘vaccine politics’.

“There is no fear of expiration of the Sinopharm or the Johnson & Johnson vaccines…the Sinopharm vaccines are not due to expire next year. [The Sputnik V vaccines] have been with us for a while [and] the uptake has not been tremendous.

“I think this has to do a lot with the acceptance of these vaccines at ports of entry where our people would normally attend to. The Canadian and US governments have not accepted the Sputnik V vaccines yet and we see within this that there is a clear geopolitical arrangement circulating with vaccines.

“While there was some initial interest indicated when [Sputnik V] was not available, now that it has arrived, based on the volume of Sputnik V vaccines that we had I don’t think that the number has exceeded ten percent. So, it is likely that there will be some expiration associated with the lot of the Sputnik V vaccines”, he explained.

Even though the Sputnik V vaccines are on their way to being out of commission, there is some good news on the Pfizer front, with the next shipment from the US expected at the end of October.

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