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PROF CHRISTINE CARRINGTON

The Sinopharm vaccine could help mitigate the worst of the dreaded and deadly Delta virus.

Professor of Molecular Genetics and Virology at the University of the West Indies, Christine Carrington attended Saturday’s Ministry of Health COVID-19 update and cited a Sri Lankan study that found the Chinese-made vaccine held up well against the Delta virus.

“The Sinopharm vaccine is expected to be protective against the Delta variant and also other variants,” she said.

“After vaccination, your immune system basically knows what the enemy virus looks like and has already prepared a stockpile of tools to fight the virus. So if you are vaccinated and you do get infected, that chance of you ending up in the hospital or dying from COVID-19 is extremely low and much much lower than if you were not vaccinated,” she said.

Carrington said there was already “real-world data” showing that the Sinopharm vaccine is effective against the variants.

“They found that the Sinopharm vaccine was extremely good at producing antibodies against the virus. So we’re seeing that Sinopharm vaccine is working well against the variants,” she said.

While the virus has not yet been detected in T&T, Chief Medical Officer Dr Roshan Parasram said last week that it was just a matter of time before it arrived.

Carrington agreed, but admitted that not all samples are being screened for the variant.

“Not every single infected person in Trinidad gives a sample to be screened and a lot of people are asymptomatic and don’t even know they are sick. So we don’t get every single case of COVID-19 coming to us to be screened for the Delta variant,” Carrington said.

Carrington said that the vaccines gave the best chance against the virus.

Meanwhile, T&T is currently ranked 6th in the world among countries that performed best in vaccination campaigns over the past week.

That data came from a tweet by the Head of Our World In Data, Edouard Mathieu on Saturday.

The figure tallied the percentage of populations vaccinated over the past week.

According to the data, Ecuador leads with 13.6 per cent of its population, followed by Ireland and Malaysia with 8.9 per cent, Denmark at 7.8 per cent, Cambodia with 7.4 per cent, and Trinidad and Tobago at 7.3 per cent. France follows with 7.1 per cent and Sri Lanka. Spain and Portugal with 6.9 per cent each.

‘T&T could cross 500,000 people jabbed before the end of this weekend’

Locally, the Ministry of Health was able to vaccinate some 14,540 people between Thursday and Friday. The day before, July 22, was 13,890 and July 21 was 11,911.

Data from the Ministry of Health’s website showed that 72,774 jabs were administered in T&T between Sunday and Friday and of those, 58,370 were first doses and 14,404 were second doses.

Prior to Saturday’s COVID figures being released, the number of first-dose vaccinations stood at 308,661 and second-dose vaccinations were 179,382.

If that date is extrapolated, it means that T&T could very well cross 500,000 people jabbed before the end of this weekend.

Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh, meanwhile, said on Saturday that 326,276 people have received their first dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. So far, 179,382 have received their second dose.

The Regional Health Authority also increased its staff numbers to cope with the higher intake of patients and Deyalsingh said that to date 1,232 health care professionals have been added to the roster.

“Of all categories, all classes,” he said.

That includes 255 Registered Nurses and 246 doctors, Deyalsingh said.

“In addition, last year, we did a training program for 150 local nurses, in ICU training because ICU capacity needed to be ramped up,” he added.

Additionally, the Ministry of Health brought in 42 ICU nurses from Cuba to supplement the shortfall of local nurses in ICU. Deyalsingh said that those 42 nurses were not replacing local nurses but were filling the void as there is always a shortage of specialist nurses.