Dr Amery Browne

Foreign and Caricom Affairs Minister Dr Amery Browne has welcomed the decision by the World Health Organisation (WHO) to approve Emergency Use Listing (EUL) for the Chinese Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine.

In an immediate response to the announcment, he said: “This is excellent news for the people of Trinidad and Tobago, particularly in light of the 100,000 doses that have been generously offered toTrinidad and Tobago by the People’s Republic of China. This EUL approval by the World Health Organisation will help to significantly improve vaccine availability to our nation, and to the wider Caricom region.

“The Ambassador of China in Port-of-Spain has been particularly helpful in keeping us informed every step of the way, and has maintained ongoing and mutually respectful communication with our Government on the issue of access to COVID-19 vaccines.”

WHO approval means thatthe vaccine, which was developed by Sinopharm with the Beijing Institute of Biological Products, can be used to bolster WHO-backed efforts such as the COVAX initiative to share doses equitably around the world.

It is also a major boost in international recognition for Sinopharm’s vaccine. It marks the first time that any Chinese-made vaccine received emergency authorization from the WHO.

The Sinopharm vaccine is already in widespread use around the world with an estimated 65 million doses administered, its developers have released only limited information about the vaccine’s efficiency and side effects.

Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley announced in late March that China had promised 100,000 doses of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines once the vaccine gets the nod from the WHO.