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Vaccines from COVAX to Arrive March, 2021

PAHO is procuring and delivering 357, 600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to Barbados and Eastern Caribbean Countries through May 2021 as allocated by the COVAX Facility.

On Friday 26 February 2021, the COVAX Facility announced its final allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean countries, to receive a proportion of 16% to 20% of their population coverage.

The countries will receive the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine which recently was approved for Emergency Use List (EUL) by World Health Organization. The countries were allocated the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine of 100,800 doses to Barbados; 74,400 doses to St. Lucia; 40,800 doses to Antigua and Barbuda; 21,600 doses to Saint Kitts and Nevis; 45,600 doses to Grenada; 28,800 doses to Dominica; and 45,600 doses to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

The PAHO Revolving Fund for Vaccines (RFV) will procure and deliver the COVAX vaccines to the countries in the Eastern Caribbean and Barbados.  PAHO is working with its Member Countries to close the purchase orders and to expedite administrative, regulatory, and logistics procedures to scale up vaccinations in the region.

The countries will start receiving their first vaccines through COVAX in March if all the conditions are met. Countries received the letters from COVAX informing about the volumes they will receive until May from the first producer that met the EUL authorization from WHO and finalized the commercial agreement with COVAX.

The PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and Eastern Caribbean countries, Dr. Yitades Gebre, stated that, “the priority of the first phase of vaccination is to save lives. We will achieve this by vaccinating the most exposed groups — like the health professionals, and the most vulnerable groups to developing severe COVID-19 illness.”

COVAX is financially supporting access to vaccines for the four Eastern Caribbean countries of Dominica, Grenada, St. Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, that probably would have to wait many months to get vaccines if the facility did not exist.

Dr. Gebre further stated that “the vaccines will not have an important impact on virus transmission itself in the next months. To achieve herd immunity, we will need to vaccinate at least 70% of the population.”  While we are vaccinating the most vulnerable and reducing mortality, we need to keep all public health measures that can reduce the transmission: the use of masks, physical distancing, avoiding closed and crowded spaces.

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