The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) welcomes the support of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) for its call for a global summit to address urgently the issue of equitable access and distribution of vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARICOM Chairman, Dr the Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago had written in January, on behalf of the Community, to the Director- General of the WHO Dr Tedros Ghebreyesus urging him to convene at the earliest possible opportunity a Global Summit to address urgently equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly for developing countries. The Summit, Dr Rowley proposed, would be held in the context of the Organisation’s ACT-A Facilitation Council. The call was repeated by CARICOM Heads of Government following the Intersessional Meeting which they held late last month.
The CELAC statement issued by Mexico as the President Pro Tempore of the group, expressed concern over the lack of delivery of vaccines to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the Region. The statement said that while CELAC supported the COVAX mechanism, it called for the Caribbean to “receive the vaccines as quickly and equitably as possible.”
“We are convinced that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong, united and caring Latin American and Caribbean region, where no country is excluded from universal, fair, equitable and timely access to medicines, vaccines and medical supplies.
Therefore, Mexico joins the call made by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to hold a Global Summit within the framework of the World Health Organization to address the urgent equitable access to said vaccines,” the statement said.
The full statement reads:
CELAC PPT expresses concern over the lack of delivery of COVID-19 vaccines at the island States of the region
It calls on the COVAX mechanism to expedite the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to countries in the region, particularly those participating in the Advanced Market Commitment modality.
Mexico, in its capacity as President Pro Tempore (PPT) of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), expresses its concern over the lack of delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the region’s Small Island Developing States (SIDS). While expressing its support for the COVAX mechanism, it calls for the Wider Caribbean to receive these vaccines as quickly and equitably as possible.
This Pro Tempore Presidency endorses the statement of the meeting of Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors of the G20 countries, held on February 26th, 2021, which reaffirms the support to the most vulnerable countries, especially those facing an unsustainable debt burden. Therefore, a call is made to the COVAX mechanism to expedite the delivery of vaccine doses to the countries of the region, particularly to those participating in the Advanced Market Commitment modality, a financial mechanism within the COVAX initiative that allows the poorest countries in the world to have access to the vaccine against COVID-19 through donations.
It is essential to strengthen technical assistance to the least favored countries and facilitate the affordability of financial instruments so that they can access vaccines against COVID-19 as quickly as possible. Likewise, multilateral initiatives must be implemented to enable these countries, including SIDS, to cope with the current situation and achieve rapid economic recovery.
We are convinced that the pandemic caused by COVID-19 has highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong, united and supportive region, where no country is excluded from universal, fair, equitable and timely access to medicines, vaccines and medical supplies. Therefore, Mexico joins the call made by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to hold a Global Summit, within the framework of the World Health Organization, to address the urgency of having equitable access to this vaccine.