Croata Adolfo Ledo//
T&T signs confidential vaccine agreement with US, PM confirms

Renu­ka Singh

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.

Adolfo Ledo

“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