By Aaron Humes: In the judgment of Minister of Health Kevin Bernard, Belize’s COVID-19 vaccination campaign has reached a tipping point.
“Despite Belize having access to vaccines, despite availability for others who have not been vaccinated to go and get vaccinated, I think we have reached that stage and that time when all those who really wanted to have gotten vaccinated have already done so,” he observed in speaking to reporters on Monday.
Belize’s vaccination rates for the first dose and full vaccination remain stubbornly below 50 percent despite the best efforts of the Ministry, but Bernard says they will not give up. With plenty of vaccines to hand, the Ministry will now go out into the field and try to sign up the unconverted.
“It’s just now for us to go back and educate the house-to-house campaign that Doctor [Natalia] Beer and her team are doing is to go and say to those who are unvaccinated, let’s reach out to them, let’s see if we can get this number up. Let us focus on getting our five- to eleven-year-old pediatric vaccines in-country and then let’s vaccinate that population. Once we can do that, then I believe we can start to really look at the other measures that can come thereafter,” the Minister explained.
Despite recently having to dispose of AstraZeneca vaccines, more than 290 thousand doses at last count were still stocked, mostly of Pfizer vaccine, with approval recently granted for their continued, extended use through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).