Pfizer and BioNTech Vaccine against COVID-19.

Health officials have dispelled rumours that the COVID-19 vaccines contain microchips during the Ministry of Health virtual press conference Wednesday and coughed it up to nothing more than a “conspiracy theory.”

“The short answer is no. We do in fact know what are all of the ingredients of the Pfizer-BioNtech vaccine because this information has to be given to WHO and PAHO as part of the review and assessment of the quality, safety and efficacy of the vaccine,” Pan American Health Organisation/World Health Organisation (PAHO/WHO) representative Dr Erica Wheeler said.

She went on to list the ingredients found in one of the vaccines and said: “So you can see from this list of 10 ingredients there’s absolutely no microchip.

“This is something that has been reviewed, all the data has been submitted to WHO and to the scientists for review and for assessment and there is no way in the world WHO and PAHO would allow any vaccine that has any damaging material in it to be approved for global use.”

Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh meanwhile, in response to a question from Guardian Media, indicated that while nothing is yet set in stone, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine could become the first to be used locally.

“The Pfizer vaccine is the first vaccine to be approved for the region… once the Pfizer vaccine passes all the regulatory approvals via CARPHA, the technical advisory group for the Caribbean, and the local advisory group, the Pfizer vaccine can be possibly the first one to be used in Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

On December 31, the WHO validated the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for emergency use, becoming the first candidate to get a seal of approval from the organisation.

It is already being administered in some of the most affected global populations, such as the United States, Canada, United Kingdom and 27 European Union states.

On Tuesday, the Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Roshan Parasram was among other regional CMO’s who met with PAHO/WHO for a technical meeting on vaccines. According to Deyalsingh, who sat in on the meeting, T&T has requested further technical data on the Pfizer, the AstraZeneca, and the Sanofi vaccines.

On Monday Deyalsingh indicated T&T would be pursuing two routes of vaccine acquisition; the first is through the COVAX facility as announced last year and secondly, outside of this facility through direct discussions with developers. He indicated that 50,000 doses would be procured of whichever vaccine is approved by WHO to administer to 25,000 people in two doses. This, as previously explained, would go to those most likely to become infected such as healthcare workers and to those who are most likely to have an adverse outcome from an infection such as those in the at-risk category. These 50,000 doses would be the first part of the first phase of vaccinations.