Posted: Tuesday, December 29, 2020. 9:49 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Mauricio Claver-Carone, projects that six Latin American and Caribbean countries including Belize will imminently receive support for the rollout of a nationwide COVID-19 vaccination program at the start of 2021, according to the Amandala. This is after the Bank allocated US$1 billion dollars to aid in the vaccine efforts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The President explained in a press call last week that the Bank had to reallocate finances in order to make funds available to aid the vaccine roll-out in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“Literally, we rushed and we did some incredible reorganizing, reprogramming to make money available to make sure that’s not an excuse. We’re doing everything in our power with the first quarter in mind,” Claver- Carone said.
The Bank proposes to support purchasing, deployment and building of immunization capacity and financing of operational costs. Belize has already paid US$400,000 through IDB funding for its commitment to the COVAX facility, enabling us to receive 120 thousand vaccine doses for 30 percent of the population.
Claver-Carone said an additional $5 million investment operation and joint guarantee will be approved in 2021 to buy more doses, but the specific type of vaccine to be made available by next April is not known; it will be a decision on what is available to COVAX and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
COVAX has invested in 12 such projects, not including frontrunners Pfizer and Moderna, but the chosen vaccine must be approved by PAHO-COVAX set guidelines as well as domestic ones.
Claver-Carone said it was important to move quickly and ensure distribution was fair, equitable and realistic, considering that the Latin American region is responsible for 33 percent of worldwide COVID deaths (mostly in the U.S. and Mexico) despite having only 9 percent of world population.
The IDB has been a valued financial partner to Belize during the pandemic, funding among other things key social protection programs as well as private commercial activity to help stimulate the economy.
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