The Pfizer vaccine will be rolled out in a short “trial run” among select groups, before it is made available to the general public. (FP)

The Pfizer vaccine will be introduced into the National Vaccination Programme for COVID-19 from tomorrow, Thursday, August 19.  However, it will be rolled out in a short “trial run” among select groups, before it is made available to the general public.

This was revealed by Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, during the final town hall meeting on COVID-19 vaccination and testing, held at the Combermere School.

“It’s going to be a limited rollout.  We are doing some individuals like recruits from the Barbados Defence Force and other small groups, as a trial run.  Then later next week, we will proceed to the general population, with a view to shortly, once the Ministry of Education is happy and we go through a few steps, to invite younger individuals to have the vaccines that are approved in persons 12 years and older,” Dr. George announced.

He noted that those seeking to be inoculated against the contagion are required to make an appointment via www.vaccine.gov.bb, adding that they would be given the option to choose their preferred vaccine.  “So currently, the choices are Sinopharm, Pfizer, and once we have Astrazeneca that choice will be available to you….  You can either say any, or you choose your individual vaccine that you see fit.”

In response to a question from a member of the audience about the possibility of Barbados obtaining COVID-19 vaccines from Cuba, Dr. George indicated that authorities were open to this option.

“The answer to that question is yes.  We have indicated that vaccines should be WHO (World Health Organisation) approved and SAGE (Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation Working Groups) approved.

“SAGE is a group of specialists that come together and make determinations on vaccines.  They examine the evidence and they put forward a position based on their scientific themes.  And once the Cuban vaccine has gone through that rigorous process, Barbados will certainly be willing to look favourably at vaccines coming out of Cuba,” the Chief Medical Officer explained.

nya.phillips@barbados.gov.bb

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