Posted: Thursday, August 12, 2021. 9:07 am CST.
By Aaron Humes: The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is to receive 5.5 million doses of Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine as agreed between former chairman Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, and U.S. President Joe Biden earlier this year.
The donation is part of a wider 80 million distribution with confirmation of the CARICOM allocation coming in June from vice-president Kamala Harris.
Haiti will receive 1.5 million doses and the other 14 CARICOM members including Belize will share the rest. The donation from the White House also includes 3 million ancillary kits containing needles, syringes, diluent, and other supplies which have already been received.
Outgoing CARICOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque hailed the work put in by the staff of the White House, CARICOM Secretariat, Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and Pfizer, and particularly cited the importance of schools reopening as the vaccine has been approved for emergency use for children 12 years and older.
CARPHA Executive Director, Dr. Joy St. John gave the assurance, “As the public health agency leading the regional COVID-19 response, we have worked with the Member States to ensure that they are ready to accept the vaccines, especially as it relates to regulatory approval, coordination, planning and delivery, logistics, shipment receipt, and procedures”. Dr. St. John added, “CARPHA was pleased to collaborate with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), as they facilitated specialized training on vaccine systems, while we facilitated the special ultra-cold chain training, which Pfizer delivered to the countries receiving the vaccine donation”.
Dr. St. John confirmed that 3 million ancillary kits have already been delivered, with the support of Caribbean Airlines and the CARICOM Regional Security System (RSS). Another tranche of 1 million ancillary kits will be delivered directly by Pfizer along with vaccine shipments.
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