Bridgetown, Barbados, 11 May 2021 (PAHO/WHO) - Barbados today 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, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lt. Col. the Hon. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, and other government officials were present for the delivery.
This is the second batch of vaccines delivered to Barbados, bringing the total to date to 67,200 doses, the first batch was received on 06 April 2021. According to the COVAX allocations, Barbados is expected to continue receiving doses of vaccines until it reaches 100,800, the amount allocated 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 today at the Grantley Adams International Airport.
Since the first case of COVID-19 was reported in March 2020, Barbados has recorded 3,946 cases and 45 deaths as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To date 75,491 persons have been immunized, with 32,717 persons fully vaccinated.
“This is a reminder that this world is always strongest when there is partnership. I want to use this opportunity to not only speak to Barbados and Barbadians but to speak to the global community. I have heard many say that the time for global coordination and partnership has passed in this pandemic, that the horse has already bolted from the stable. I want to say definitively that in our view that is not the case, and there is never a wrong time to do the right thing. The fact that globally we continue to run this race trying to fight it up and to beat it against mutations and variants tells us that there is still a great need for global coordination and partnership,” said Hon Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados.
"PAHO is pleased to facilitate the delivery of this second round of vaccines, which will further boost Barbados’ national vaccination program," said Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO/WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries. Generally, we have observed in some countries a hesitancy towards vaccines and vaccine resistance. For Barbados, the uptake has been very encouraging, making this second deployment of vaccines very timely.”
Lt. Col. the Honourable Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and Wellness, said “The government of Barbados has done everything possible to ensure we have enough vaccines available for everyone on island. It has been very challenging; but we do believe this is the ultimate measure that we can employ to ensure we are safe and we can get back to a state of normalcy.”
“To date we have given over 75,000 vaccines which is equivalent to 38% of our eligible population. As public health nurses and primary health care practitioners, we are working around the clock to ensure that you are vaccinated. Our aim is to achieve a high level of herd immunity,” said Juleyett Sorrano, Senior Health Sister at the Branford Taitt Polyclinic. In honor of International Nurses Day celebrated 12 May 2021 Ms. Sorrano congratulated nurses for their invaluable contribution while working around the clock because of the pandemic.
“Today’s delivery of the second batch of COVID-19 vaccine to Barbados, under the COVAX facility, is welcomed by the UN as it furthers our collective efforts to ensure that the region’s most important assets – its people – are protected. We cannot afford to be complacent since this virus is still very present and as we have seen it has no borders. With the approaching hurricane season almost upon us, the need to ensure that all countries are able to offer vaccinations to their whole population is even more critical. Our goal is to leave no country behind through universal access to vaccines. This is the only way that we can save lives and ultimately end this crisis. The COVAX mechanism is a tangible reflection of this goal, and of the solidarity of the international community. We are truly grateful to our many partners such as the EU, UK, US, Canada and Japan, for their continued support,” said UN Resident Coordinator, Didier Trebucq.
Dr Aloys Kamuragiye, UNICEF Representative for the Eastern Caribbean Area said, “This second batch of vaccines will put Barbados closer to charting a path forward in the COVID-19 environment and enable us to get children back to school and other activities in a safer environment.”
Until vaccination is widespread among the population, basic public health measures remain the basis of the pandemic response. For public health authorities, this means continuing to conduct screening, contact tracing, isolation, assisted quarantine, and quality care. And for people, it means continuing to practice physical distancing, hand hygiene, the use of masks, adequate ventilation of indoor environments, and avoidance of crowded spaces.
COVAX, the vaccines pillar of the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, is co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance and the World Health Organization (WHO) – working in partnership with UNICEF as key implementing partner, as well as civil society organisations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. In the Americas, the PAHO Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for the COVAX facility.
At PAHO Headquarters: