MP Seecheran tells Deyalsingh: Budget for covid boosters, monkeypox vaccines

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Caroni East MP Dr Rishad Seecheran. –

CARONI East MP DR Rishad Seecheran is calling for a budgetary allocation to be made for an adequate supply of monkeypox vaccinations and reformulated covid19 booster shots.

Seecheran reminded his audience at the United National Congress (UNC) Monday night virtual report meeting that covid19 cases are on the rise and monkeypox cases are getting closer to TT.

He said TT should not have a repeat of the 4,100 deaths owing to covid19, and protect citizens at all cost from dying from monkeypox, should it get here.

TT only has access to Sinopharm and Johnson & Johnson covid19 booster shots as all Pfizer vaccines acquired by TT have expired.

Seecheran noted this leaves TT between a rock and a hard place as the Sinopharm is tailored against the original Wuhan strain and not the Omicron BA.5 strain.

“I call on the Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh to make the necessary budgetary allocation for the purchase of an adequate supply of reformulated covid19 booster vaccines from Pfizer or Moderna, pending the regulatory approvals.”

Noting that monkeypox is a global concern, Seecheran suggested Deyalsingh work with the Minister of Foreign Affairs to secure doses of vaccines and therapeutics for the virus from TT’s allies in the US or European Union.

He warned against relying on the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) for the indicative order of 2000 vaccines, with no arrival date, which can only vaccinate 1,000 people.

“Vaccines must be sourced to protect our citizens.”

Deyalsingh, Seecheran said, must also state his views on fractional dosing approach endorsed by US and EU regulators. This method entails using one vial of the drug via an intradermal injection to administer to five people, as a short-term measure to protect at-risk individuals while the supply of the vaccine remains limited.