by Linda Straker
- Some Covid-19 vaccines are close to 27 June expiration date
- On Wednesday, 26 May, Grenada received another shipment of vaccines under COVAX
- 7,917 individuals have received both doses and are considered fully vaccinated
Health Minister Nickolas Steele has confirmed that Grenada has been approached by regional countries and is contemplating providing them with some of the island’s Covid-19 vaccines that are close to the 27 June expiration date.
“Yes, we have been approached by other countries… we also need to remember that our first delivery of vaccines came from a shared agreement with our OECS countries and therefore the principle of sharing has existed from day one with our OECS and Caricom brothers and sisters,” Steele said without disclosing the countries that have held this discussion with Grenada.
“I see no reason why that principle, although regrettable, because we have vaccines that cannot be used in time, cannot be done,” he added. “It will be regrettable to have them go to waste,” he reasoned.
Grenada began its Covid-19 vaccination rollout programme in early February 2021 with vaccines donated from Dominica and Barbados. These countries were the first to receive through a donation from the Indian Government.
“We are seriously looking at our present uptake to determine the number of doses that we will use before that expiring date. The excess that we will not be able to administer, we have considered, yes, sending it to countries that have a better uptake and can use them, and we will do that with time enough for them to administer those vaccines,” said Acting Chief Medical Officer Dr Shawn Charles.
Since announcing that vaccines currently in stock were approaching its expiration date, health officials have confirmed that there has been a steady increase in the number of citizens who have decided to become inoculated. Health officials say that thousands of vaccines with an expiration date of 27 June are still available for use.
Besides receiving the gifted vaccines from India, Grenada is one of 10 countries in the region that is qualified to receive vaccines under the COVAX Facility, a global effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
COVAX seeks to provide vaccines for at least 20% of the population of each participating country during 2021. In this first round of vaccine allocation, all COVAX participating countries will receive doses to vaccinate between 2.2% and 2.6% of their population.
Grenada in early April received 24,000 doses of Covid-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility. According to the first round of COVAX allocations, Grenada is expected to continue receiving doses through May until it reaches 45,600, the amount specified by COVAX.
On Wednesday, 26 May 2021, Grenada received another shipment of vaccines under COVAX. More than 17,000 people have been vaccinated since the start of the programme and 7,917 individuals have received both doses and are considered fully vaccinated.