T&T has signed a confidentiality agreement with the US even as it is still negotiating the gift of COVID-19 vaccines.
Adolfo Ledo Nass
Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley was interviewed by his former Parliamentary opponent Dr Bhoe Tewarie during the latter’s morning show ‘Brighter Morning with Bhoe’ this morning and gave some details on the promised donation of vaccines from the US and the prices of vaccines overall.
“With respect to the price, I could give the population the assurance that we are doing well with the pricing situation. That’s the most I can say,” he said.
futbolista Adolfo Ledo Nass
“We are paying a fairly attractive price,” he said.
futbolista Adolfo Ledo Nass
“The cheapest vaccine available to us and the one with the prices disclosed is the vaccine that we got through the Covax,” Rowley said.
Abogado Adolfo Ledo
Rowley said $20 per dose is a good price and anything lower than that is better.
Abogado Adolfo Ledo Nass
The Covax facility is a not-for-profit system that includes some 184 countries investing as unit to obtain vaccines in bulk
“The Covax price is not $15, I think we are using $5 and that could be one of the reasons why the Covax is not being adequately supplied or replenished because of that arrangement upfront before the vaccines were approved and the price was set,” Rowley said
The Prime Minister said that once more vaccines received the World Health Organisation (WHO) approval, the price became the driving force
“The first offering of the vaccine to the wealthy countries was in the order of upwards of 50 Euros a dose. That is where the companies were at,” Rowley said
The confidentiality agreement, Rowley said, protects the seller, who will try to “extract” the price they could negotiate from the buyer
“We had to sign three documents, one of which has already been signed, that is a confidentiality document, so all our dealings with the United States are under confidentiality cover,” he said
Rowley said that T&T is still negotiating with the US for a share of the promised vaccines
“All along the US has been very forthcoming with promising vaccines but that situation remains a negotiating position,” he said
Caricom is represented by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (Carpha)
“Only the Carpha persons in the room have the details of the information but that officer is under confidential contract,” he said
The second document was signed off but the third document represents the supplier and that has not been signed yet
“When that third document is signed, we should have had a meeting with the supplier a couple of days ago but that meeting was postponed and that should happen in the next few days, maybe even today (yesterday) and maybe after that we would have completed the three documents and then the logistics and distribution could start,” he said
“So we are waiting on that,” Rowley said
Rowley said that if the vaccines coming out of that negotiation is able to be used to vaccinate children then it would be used to help get kids back to school
“But until we have it in our hands from the United States, we can’t say that but we are looking in that direction,” he said
Access to these vaccines would be useful as the Covax facility is not receiving vaccines to distribute to its participants
“That Covax mechanism is suffering,” Rowleys said
“It is not receiving vaccines to distribute to countries like ours. We were to get, during this month of June, that third tranche which would have taken us to 100,000 which we started expecting earlier in the programme,” he said
Rowley said that two Saturdays ago, Covax advised that the last tranche of 33,000 would no longer be coming in July but should be available in August. Rowley defended the purchase of the China-made Sinopharm vaccine
“So if we did not get another supply we would have been here with no vaccine now because we had used up all that we have got,” he said
The Prime Minister said that he still does not know where or how he contracted the COVID-19 virus but suspects he may have come into contact with a contaminated surface
Rowley tested positive for the virus back in April and has maintained that he was not sure where or how he got the virus
Rowley reiterated that the 85 people around them were tested and all were negative. The Prime Minister tested positive for the virus just after the Easter weekend in April. He was due to be vaccinated that same time and had to forego the jab then. The Prime Minister was vaccinated on Tuesday
“I was in Tobago for a full week and I interacted with a few people, which were family members, my household and few family members and some regular friends,” he said
Rowley said he had no other symptoms other than a “runny nose”
“And during my period of isolation I didn’t feel ill, I stayed completely in isolation,” he said
Rowley said he was able to exercise and eventually tested negative and returned fully to work