The Office of the Prime Minister, yesterday, attempted to clear the air on the island’s “efforts to secure” the high in demand COVID-19 vaccines.
Through a press release, the O.P.M labelled a document and messages circulated via Whatsapp as false.
“The Office of the Prime Minister is aware of a document in circulation accompanied by a WhatsApp message with patently false allegations regarding Saint Lucia’s procurement of COVID-19 vaccines.”
According to the release, “the Office of the Prime Minister states categorically that the Government of Saint Lucia’s purchase of vaccines was done in accordance with the Procurement and Stores Regulations, Chapter 15:01 of the Revised Laws of Saint Lucia 2001, and with due diligence by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health and Wellness.”
The O.PM. further stated that in response to the global threat of COVID-19, Prime Minister Honourable Allen Chastanet had been actively leading the Government’s effort to secure the “much-needed vaccines for our citizens.” This effort was replicated by other countries throughout the region, at a time when supply could not meet the demand for the Astra Zeneca vaccine.”
Although Saint Lucia received donations of 25,000 doses from India and 50,400 through COVAX,
the O.P.M concluded that it was not sufficient to ensure that at least 60% of the population was vaccinated to allow for a return to some level of normalcy.
“In April 2021, the Governments of Saint Lucia, The Bahamas and Barbados initiated a bulk purchase of Astra Zeneca vaccines, as the minimum purchase from authorized suppliers was one million (1,000,000) vaccines. Saint Lucia’s contribution towards this arrangement was seven million three hundred and thirty-five thousand, six hundred and thirty Eastern Caribbean dollars and fifty-six cents (EC$7,335,630.56) to secure one hundred thousand (100,000) vials of the vaccine.
The Government of Saint Lucia, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, approved this purchase through Radical Investments Limited, following verifications by the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Health and Wellness to ensure the capacity of the supplier.
At the time of the transaction, there was much uncertainty with regard to the supply of COVID-19
vaccines around the world and the Government was actively seeking reliable sources for the vaccine. The partnership with two other CARICOM countries provided the best avenue to do so.
The Government continues to explore all methods to control the spread of COVID-19 which remains our greatest existential threat. The Government will continue with its vaccination efforts as we seek to protect the health and wellbeing of the nation. It is regrettable and unfortunate that persons are using misinformation to undermine the efforts at preserving the social and economic future of Saint Lucia.”
The Government of Saint Lucia continued to call on all Saint Lucians to get vaccinate.