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Belize prepares for new strains, vaccine deployment

Posted: Saturday, January 30, 2021. 3:57 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Belize, like other countries, has been developing its National COVID-19 Vaccine Deployment Plan.

The World Health Organization (WHO) is to deploy its country readiness portal in the coming days as a vital step before allocations are made to ensure that delivered doses are able to be effectively deployed and to identify further sources for support, it was revealed.

Health Minister Michel Chebat conveyed that there is a dedicated team looking at the issue and the plan has been drafted and needs only to be submitted to Cabinet for approval.

As previously noted, Belize is part of the COVAX facility sponsored by the WHO and the first vaccines under that protocol are due in March or April.

Typically, health care professionals and the most vulnerable will be vaccinated first, followed by other tiers of individuals as needed.

Acting Director of Health Services Dr. Melissa Diaz Musa said this week that she expects that up to 70 percent of the population will be vaccinated by the end of 2021.

In related news, Belize is keeping eagle eyes out for new strains of COVID-19.

Minister Chebat said that as early as this weekend, samples sent for testing to a United States institution will be confirmed for strains of the UK, South Africa, and other identified variants of COVID-19 seen elsewhere. The former has been identified in Mexico and the United States.

The new variants are believed to be more contagious than the original virus, but not believed to be more devastating to the immune system.

 

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