National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds wants people who wish to enter this country’s borders to respect the laws of Trinidad and Tobago and not try to find ways around them.
At a media briefing yesterday, Hinds commented on a recent incident where a Canadian national was denied entry because his mix of vaccines was not on the approved list in order to acquire a Travel Pass as required to fly into T&T.
“We have used the law as a barrier of protection and we want people to respect that barrier and not find ways around or over it,” said Hinds.
Canadian citizen Allan Preddie’s combination was a mix of Pfizer and Moderna. And while he told Canadian media he was not aware that it would not be accepted in Trinidad and Tobago, Hinds said the criteria is clearly defined on both the Travel Pass website and the web page of the Ministry of National Security.
“Therefore, I am satisfied that reasonable international notice has been given,” Hinds said, adding that it is well known that all countries have taken some action to protect themselves.
Preddie had obtained a Travel Pass but Hinds said it could be done with wrong or false information.
“They will come through on the system, but when they get to Trinidad or otherwise and these documents need to be validated, it would reveal untruths.”
Hinds said in the case of Preddie, the system would have demanded information on mixed vaccines and he underscored that only World Health Organization-approved blends would have been approved.
“Mr Preddie obviously uploaded information that allowed him the Travel Pass but when he arrived, it occurred to those who were validating that his mix was Moderna and Pfizer and not Pfizer and AstraZeneca that Trinidad and Tobago admits.”
The National Security Minister did admit that the situation was unfortunate, as Preddie came to this country to organise funeral arrangements for his mother.
“I understand the implications for him because it’s his mother, I understand all of the emotional content, I understand some who might think there are humanitarian concerns, but the greatest humanitarian concern is the concern for 1.4 million human beings in Trinidad and Tobago, not just one, but all of us.”
Preddie was not charged by the TTPS and instead is back in Canada.
During the media conference, Hinds was alerted that the World Health Organisation has since approved a mix of AstraZeneca as a first dose and Moderna as a second.
“That is extremely good news, I’m sure we will update the system to accommodate that,” he said.
COVID-19 vaccine combinations accepted in T&T
Yesterday, the Ministry of Health updated the list of approved COVID-19 vaccine combinations.
It said as of yesterday, the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated the vaccine combination of first dose AstraZeneca and second dose Moderna wasapproved.
The list of approved COVID-19 vaccines and combinations for T&T now includes:
Pfizer-BioNTech - Approved December 31, 2020
AstraZeneca - Approved February 15, 2021
Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) - Approved March 12, 2021
Moderna-NIAID - Approved April 30, 2021
Sinopharm BIBP - Approved May 7, 2021
Sinovac-CoronaVac - Approved June 1, 2021
First dose AstraZeneca and second dose Pfizer-BioNTech - Approved June 15, 2021
First dose AstraZeneca and second dose Moderna-NIAID - Approved July 30, 2021.