Healthcare workers and contacts of people testing positive for the monkeypox virus will be prioritised for vaccination.
Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh gave the update at the virtual health briefing on Wednesday.
At this time, Trinidad and Tobago has not confirmed any cases of the virus, but preparations are being made to ensure the country’s readiness to treat with monkeypox.
The Minister noted that the vaccination programme for monkeypox will vastly differ from the administration of COVID-19 vaccines.
So far, 2,000 doses of the two-dose monkeypox vaccine have been ordered from the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO). No firm date of arrival of the vaccines has been determined just yet.
To date, the CARICOM region has recorded less than 20 cases.
Given the low numbers, Deyalsingh said the number of vaccines the Ministry was able to secure would be sufficient to manage the arrival of the virus.
He stated: “Right now, the vaccination programme will be for close contacts of a positive person. So, if you have a positive person living in a household… one or two colleagues… let’s go up to a maximum of 10 close contacts for a positive case.
So, we are having the ability to vaccinate 1,000 persons. We are catering for roughly 100 cases. At this point in time, with the trajectory of monkeypox, the chances of Trinidad and Tobago registering 100 cases is relatively low.”
Despite this, Deyalsingh said the door will be open for more vaccines to be ordered as things evolve.
Deyalsingh noted that the Ministry was prepared to order more vaccines, however, he pointed to a number of factors, including hoarding by larger nations as a challenge to securing additional doses.
He highlighted the seriousness of the act, which left African countries – where five deaths have been recorded – without a single vaccine to manage the outbreak.
The Minister added that once there’s confirmation on the price and expiry date of the vaccines, another order can be put in to PAHO.
Credit: Source link