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Barbados, Eastern Caribbean Countries received indicative allocation of COVID-19 vaccine

(PAHO) – On 30 January 2021, Barbados and several Eastern Caribbean Countries who signed agreements with the COVAX Facility were informed of the indicative allocation of COVID-19 vaccines. In a written letter to each Minister of Health, the COVAX facility advised that vaccines will be delivered effective mid to late February with 357, 600 doses of the AstraZeneca AZD1222 vaccine, to Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The indicative distribution is based on current communication of estimated availability from manufacturers.

The COVAX Facility has managed to secure significant doses of vaccines from various manufacturers. The allocation was determined by the World Health Organization (WHO) panel of experts and GAVI taking a big step towards equal access to COVID-19 vaccines. The Facility has informed the countries of its vaccine allocation for the 1st and 2nd quarter of 2021. These are the first of the assigned doses to satisfy COVAX’s agreement with the countries.

As communicated by PAHO and the COVAX facility from previous communication, the COVAX Facility has managed to secure significant doses of vaccines from various manufacturers. In addition, these are authorised or very close to being authorised by WHO Emergency Use Listing (EUL). Because EUL has yet to be granted by WHO in respect of this vaccine, the Facility have for now only provided an indicative number of doses, covering the next two quarters. The main objective of this allocation is for countries to as quickly as possible begin vaccinating their priority populations.

The members states are advised to take necessary actions in the roll-out and COVID-19 vaccination plans to ensure timely procurement and delivery of the vaccines. Furthermore, the timing of the delivery of doses is subject to PAHO establishing supply agreements with the manufacturers.

The next steps to access the allocation include countries to have the necessary indemnity and liability frameworks, including the required legislative framework in place, in order to complete an agreement directly with AstraZeneca. This preparatory work and arrangements are important to ensure a successful introduction of a COVID-19 vaccine in the coming weeks. The PAHO Representative to Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Countries, Dr. Yitades Gebre, encourages member states to take the required next steps as promptly as possible, and not later than the end of February, to avoid idle doses and potential delays in receiving these vaccines through the Facility and the PAHO Vaccine procurement mechanisms.

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