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Belize thanks UNICEF, African Union for 132,000 doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccines received Thursday

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Posted: Friday, August 27, 2021. 4:53 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias: “We continue to be grateful for additional options of vaccines to support our countrywide vaccine drives,” said Michel Chebat, Minister of Health & Wellness, in expressing gratitude for the partnership with UNICEF and the African Union’s African Vaccine Acquisition Trust (AVAT) that saw the arrival of 132,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson (Janssen) COVID19 vaccines on Thursday.

The Ministry of Health & Wellness (MOHW) said Dr Melissa Diaz Musa, Deputy Regional Manager, Central Health Region on behalf of MOHW, and Ms Paulett Wade, Monitoring and Evaluation Officer, UNICEF Belize, were present for the arrival of the vaccines at the Philip Goldson International Airport.

“It is crucial to ensure equitable access to vaccines to increase the level of protection amongst the populace, and fast track the return to normalcy that is imperative to the livelihoods and survival of families and children of Belize,” said Alison Parker, UNICEF Representative to Belize, according to a post on social media by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“Getting vaccinated whilst ensuring continued adherence to preventive protocols remain the surest way to end the pandemic.

“UNICEF, with the support of international partners like AVAT, will continue to advocate and mobilize resources to aid in Belize’s COVID-19 recovery process,” Parker added expressing UNICEF’S commitment to help the Belize achieve herd immunity to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

“Persons who are able to be vaccinated will soon have another option at vaccine sites when inquiring about COVID19 vaccines,” said the Ministry which already has AstraZeneca, Sinopharm, and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines at its disposal.

The J&J Janssen vaccines are single dose vaccines. According to information from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 14 million persons have already been fully vaccinated in the United States with a single dose of the J&J vaccine.

Chebat again called on everyone who has not been vaccinated to do so at the vaccination sites countrywide while reminding everyone to follow the COVID-19 guidelines, particularly now that new variants are present in Belize.

The African Union (AU) comprising 55 member states bought 400 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines for the African continent in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson (Janssen). Through AVAT, the Africa Union extended access to countries in the CARICOM region that subscribed to the initiative. According to the MOHW, Belize benefits from this partnership by getting these 132,000 vaccines that support the country’s vaccination plan.

The MOHW said that even after receiving the COVID-19 vaccine, everyone should still adhere to the COVID-19 protocols of wearing masks properly in public, maintaining social distancing, and washing and sanitizing hands often.

People may call the Ministry’s hotline at 0-800-664-2273 if they need more information.

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