Borrowed vaccines are scheduled for arrival here today, while Pfizer drug in stock will be reserved for second-doses only

Antigua and Barbuda was scheduled to receive a shipment of vaccines from a neighbouring OECS island this afternoon, October 14, as supplies have run low since the Government introduced its vaccination mandate.

Ministry of Health officials say that 1,000 doses are being loaned by an unnamed OECS neighbour.  However, Prime Minister Gaston Browne had announced, last weekend, that Dominica and St. Vincent had been approached for short-term assistance.

Dr. Rhonda Sealy-Thomas, the Chief Medical Officer, met with the Cabinet this week and reportedly said that 2,446 Pfizer vaccines are in stock.

She said that approximately 5,000 people require a second jab of the vaccine, and so those in stock will be dedicated to filling that need.  

Therefore, no new inoculations with the Pfizer drug will be administered until a second tranche is received from the United States.

The US Government had pledged to provide 58,000 Pfizer doses, of which 17,600 were delivered, with a second tranche of 17,000 doses due within the next two weeks, the CMO said.

Additionally, Dr. Sealy-Thomas said, 20,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca are scheduled to arrive here, from PAHO, in early November.

However, 3,000 doses are now on hand, and another OECS neighbour is returning 5,000 borrowed doses shortly, she reportedly said.

It was noted that 37,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson drug are in stock, as are nearly 19,000 doses of the Chinese-made Sinopharm, and about 1,000 doses of the Russian-produced Sputnik V.

All are approved by the Pharmaceutical Council for use, eliminating any excuse by adults not to be vaccinated immediately, the Government says.

“The best vaccine is the available vaccine,” the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has repeatedly said and the CMO reiterates.