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$400 million loan approved to Central American nations for vaccine

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Posted: Monday, August 31, 2020. 7:25 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Reuters news agency reports that The Central American Bank for Economic Integration (CABEI) has approved a US$400 million loan to seven regional nations and the Dominican Republic for the acquisition and distribution of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic will each receive US $50 million as part of an emergency support program for the coronavirus pandemic.

Latin American nations have worried they will be left at the back of the queue when a vaccine is developed, as wealthier nations such as the United States and Britain have sought to buy early supplies from leading vaccine manufacturers.

Argentina and Mexico, two partner nations of CABEI, have already signed deals with the University of Oxford and pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca Plc to mass-produce vaccines for countries across the region, Reuters says.

Dante Mossi, CABEI’s president, said the deal will allow “timely and efficient” access for Central America.

“This approval … allows the countries in the Central American region to access this medical supply when it becomes available and to implement immunization actions for their population,” CABEI said in a statement.

More than 100 potential vaccines are in production with a few headed to the final stages of tests with human subjects but it could still be a few months before an approved vaccine could go on the market.

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