A small batch of Pfizer vaccines entered the country late Saturday night and was received quietly by the Minister of National Security, Fitzgerald Hinds.
Hinds yesterday confirmed that he received the Pfizer vaccines late on Saturday night.
The ministry had previously issued one short media release yesterday merely confirming that it received the vaccines and Hinds offered a few more details in a subsequent telephone interview.
“They are intended for use in National Security,” he said.
“To the ministry for the ministry,” he added.
“I think it’s about 80 vials which are about 400 in all and it’s a two-shot vaccine so that you are talking about 200 persons. It is a very small amount,” he said.
When pressed which arm of National Security was set to receive this Pfizer vaccine, Hinds repeated that it was “just for National Security.”
When asked if this was the first batch of Pfizer to land in the country, Hinds said it “was not about first.”
“This has nothing to do with any other arrangement, this was just a separate arrangement for National Security which we gladly accepted, which I gladly accepted,” he said.
“It came from the, well I would say the Government, its a special arrangement but it has come from the Government of the United States,” he said.
Shortly after Hinds spoke with Guardian Media, the Ministry issued a second media statement containing fewer details of the Pfizer delivery.
Earlier in the day though, a picture of a letter began circulating on social media shared first by social media activist Phillip Alexander.
In that picture, the letter bore the letterhead of the United States Department of State and named an employee who would be travelling with the vaccines. That package included 80 vials of the Pfizer vaccine, 400 1ml syringes and 100 vials of vaccine diluent.
But Minister Hinds would later take to social media where he asked, “What is the big noise around this petty issue? What is the lie?”
He stated, “We received a petty 400-two dose vaccines from the US as a small gift to the Ministry of National Security?”
Later yesterday evening, the US Embassy also issued its own statement about the donation of Pfizer vaccines to this country.
It stated, “The United States is committed to assisting the Government of Trinidad and Tobago with its vaccination efforts. We believe that every vaccine counts.”
On May 21, Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh signed a legal notice—No 174 of 2021—under the heading “Approval in respect of new drugs” under the Food and Drugs Act. That legal notice approved Sinopharm, AstraZeneca and Pfizer.
Meanwhile, 200,000 doses of Sinopharm vaccines are expected to arrive sometime today.