CMO: Covid19 bivalent vaccine needs more testing

Black Immigrant Daily News

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday


Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram. –

CMO Dr Roshan Parasram said TT will not be acquiring the bi-valent covid19 vaccine being used in the US until it had gone through rigorous scientific testing.

He was speaking at the virtual launch of the vaccination campaign for the 2022-23 flu season on Wednesday.

“The covid19 bi-valent is not a World Health Organization (WHO)-approved vaccine as yet. It has been out in the US as far as I know, in terms of the manufacturer using it, but we await the approval, or at least for the vaccine to go through the necessary scientific rigour before we consider that approach.”

The US Food and Drug Administration bivalent formulations of Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech covid19 vaccines for use as a single booster dose. They include a component of the original virus strain to provide broad protection against the virus and a component of the omicron variant to provide better protection against the omicron variant.

Parasram said while the BA.5 omicron variant of covid19 was still the prevalent lineage locally, the levels of transmission are very low.

“The seven-day rolling average of cases is 27, and the rolling seven-day average of deaths stands at one. The total number patients in covid19 facilities, both step-down and hospitals, is at 55. There are also extremely low levels of presentation of covid-positive patients at the accident and emergency units. The positivity rate is below 10 for covid19, with 9.9 on Tuesday.”

He said other viruses present locally included, but were not limited to influenza A (H3N2 and H1N1), influenza B, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), dengue IgM, and human metapneumovirus.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh said the Couva Medical Facility will revert to the University of the West Indies once it is taken off-grid as a covid19 facility. He said he hoped it would be used as a research facility/hospital, similar to the model that is used in Mona, Jamaica.

“I think as a research hospital, it will add a significant degree of prestige and also aid in developing new techniques that will redound to the benefit of the general population.”

Deyalsingh noted that the ex-gratia payments being given to health care workers would start in November.

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