Barbados yesterday received 33,600 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility, a global effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organiza-tion (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The arrival marks a historic step toward ensuring the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, in the largest vaccine procurement and supply operation in his-tory. This delivery is part of the first phase of deliveries for Barbados, and more vaccines are expected to arrive successively during 2021. According to the first round of COVAX allocations, Barbados is expected to continue receiving doses through May until it reaches 100,800, the amount specified by COVAX.
PAHO’s Revolving Fund, which is responsible for the procurement of COVID-19 vaccines for the countries of the Americas under the COVAX Mechanism, sent 33,600 doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea. The vaccines arrived yesterday at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
“Seeing this arrival is very reassuring and it means that more people will be able to be protected from COVID-19,” said Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries. “We will continue to work with the country to support vaccination along with the entire package of known public health and social measures that we know can help stop the spread of COVID-19, protect health services, and save lives.”
The arrival of these first vaccines will serve to protect priority groups and those most at risk, such as health workers and older adults.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in March 2020, the country has recorded 3,685 cases and 43 deaths as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
COVAX seeks to provide vaccines for at least 20% of the population of each participating country during 2021. In this first round of vaccine allocation, all COVAX participating countries will receive doses to vaccinate between 2.2 and 2.6% of their population. The only exceptions are small island developing States, which will receive an allocation of vaccines to cover between 16 and 20% of their population, due to the high logistical cost of delivering small quantities of vaccines.