Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh.

The Health Ministry is probing pharmacies selling COVID-19 antigen rapid tests and will bring the necessary charges to bear.

During yesterday’s COVID-19 media briefing, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh was asked about a pharmacy selling antigen rapid tests for $225. The sales were advertised on social media platforms.

Deyalsingh said the penalty for such sales is a fine of several hundred thousand dollars plus six months’ jail.

“We’re taking this very seriously,” he said.

He added it wasn’t true Government was running out of test kits.

On whether pharmacists would be allowed to vaccinate people, Deyalsingh said his ministry’s legal advice was that pharmacists couldn’t do so, but noted the Attorney General was also checking it. He said pharmacies were used before for H1N1 vaccines with a doctor and/or nurse administering that.

But Deyalsingh said the ministry’s advice was that allied health workers, including ear, nose and throat doctors, vets and dentists, could perform COVID vaccinations.

He added that the University of the West Indies has been asked to organise training for 125 such allied health workers who will assist with mass vaccination programmes.

Deyalsingh also condemned a comment and query by Opposition Leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar at the UNC’s Monday forum, when she referred to those who “might be playing God” and deciding how patients might be treated or not. He said she attacked public officers’ integrity wrongfully.

“Government doesn’t guide doctors or nurses. If she was asking if the issue was true, why didn’t she find out before speaking? But she took a Facebook post, goes on a platform and disparages doctors and nurses. They have been our salvation for the past 14 months doing back-breaking work. Her comments bring public officers into odium!”

Deyalsingh repeated that the government and opposition in other Caricom states were working together on COVID issues and said while the UNC was calling for unity, its narrative said otherwise.

Commending the Guardian newspaper’s editorial on the COVID issue, he agreed, “The Guardian’s clear— we need full co-operation…all of us should do our parts.”

Meanwhile, Bermuda is offering to donate 8,000 COVID vaccines to T&T. The information was confirmed respectively by Foreign Affairs Minister Amery Browne yesterday.

Browne didn’t say when these vaccines might arrive.

He told Guardian Media, “I spoke today with the premier of Bermuda David Burt. He confirmed the donation is official.”