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US embassy mocked for donating 80 vials of vaccine

By MAY ZHOU in Houston | China Daily Global | Updated: 2021-06-15 11:55

After the US embassy in Port of Spain, capital of Trinidad and Tobago, announced in a tweet Sunday that it had donated 80 vials of COVID-19 vaccine to the Caribbean island nation of 1.4 million people, online mockery followed.

"The government of the United States of America has made a donation of COVID-19 vaccines to the government of Trinidad and Tobago. The donation includes 80 vials of Pfizer vaccines. The United States is committed to assisting the Government of Trinidad and Tobago with its vaccination efforts. We believe that every vaccine counts," the US embassy tweet read.

The post was widely circulated on Twitter, generating numerous comments, many of which derisively noted the small number of vaccine doses.

"Did you leave off some zeros?" one tweet said.

"They probably paid the copywriter more in labor for writing this tweet than the Pfizer vials are worth," another said.

"There's almost as many words in this statement as vaccine vials being donated," another wrote on Twitter.

"I don't understand their need to tweet this. It's more like an insult than help. This amount is used for samples not for vaccination," one commented.

One vial of Pfizer vaccine can be divided into five doses. Two shots are required (with 21 days between shots) to make it a full vaccine. That means the donation yields about 400 shots and could vaccinate 200 people.

According to Trinidad's Daily Express, the nation's National Security Minister Fitzgerald Hinds said that the donated vaccines will be given to the National Security Ministry.

"This has nothing to do with any large donation that we expect is being considered by the United States government," Hinds said. "This is just a small number for the Ministry of National Security as a gift which we are happy to accept."

Some users posted other vaccine-donation tweets such as the announcement that India is sending 40,000 vaccines to Trinidad and Tobago, or China's Sinopharm was sending 200,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines procured by the Trinidad and Tobago government.

Data from worldometer.com show more than 28,000 reported coronavirus cases and 670 COVID-19 related deaths in Trinidad and Tobago. The country experienced a surge of coronavirus cases in May, during which the US government provided two field hospitals comprising 80 beds, the US embassy said.

Under the World Health Organization's COVAX vaccine-sharing program, 100,800 doses were allocated to Trinidad and Tobago. The United States recently said it will donate 500 million Pfizer COVID-19 vaccines worth $3.5 billion to the 100 lowest- income countries in the world. The shipment will start in August.

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