PARAMARIBO, 17 December 2021 [PAHO] — Suriname received 64,800 doses of COVID-19 vaccine donated by Spain via the COVAX Mechanism, a global initiative that aims to ensure equitable access to vaccines against the disease caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
The batch of vaccines provided by the Spanish government, the first received to date, will help protect more people against COVID-19. Including this delivery, the country has received 144,000 doses of vaccines via COVAX. The AstraZeneca vaccines arrived in Suriname on 14 December. The official handover took place on 17 December at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Paramaribo, where the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Albert Ramdin, the Minister of Health Dr. Amar Ramadhin and the Director of Health, Dr. Rakesh Gajadhar Sukul, met with the Honorary Consul of Spain in Suriname, Mr. Humphrey Blom, officers from PAHO/WHO, as well as other officials from The Ministry of Health and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. During the handover ceremony, a conference call was held with the ambassador of Spain, Fernando Nogales Alvarez, based in Trinidad and Tobago to thank him for the donation.
“The PAHO Suriname country office is happy to have supported the Ministry of Health with receipt of this vaccine through the COVAX facility as this gives the country additional doses of vaccine to strengthen their campaign towards having at least 70% of the population vaccinated by next year in keeping with WHO’s recommendation. This is especially timely as many countries worldwide are preparing for the introduction of the Omicron variant. In addition to adherence to the public health measures of mask wearing, physical distancing and good hand hygiene, vaccination is a good prevention strategy against severe COVID-19 disease, hospitalization and death”, said PAHO/WHO Representative in Suriname, Dr. Karen Lewis-Bell.
“We are grateful to Spain for the donated vaccines and very pleased that PAHO was able to arrange transportation of the vaccines. We will make good use of these 64,800 doses of AstraZeneca to provide additional protection for our population. More than 200,000 people have been vaccinated with AstraZeneca and some of them can be protected with a booster shot. The effective combination of AstraZeneca with first shot and Pfizer second shot can also be used to provide additional protection to society. We call upon the community to make use of the option of extra protection through the vaccine”, The Director of Health, Dr. Sukul said.
The PAHO Revolving Fund and the PAHO/WHO office in Suriname worked with the Spanish government, the Surinamese Government and the COVAX Facility, to ensure the swift and safe arrival of the vaccines, and to help make sure that vaccines get into the arms of those who need them the most.
Last August, in line with the commitment announced by President Pedro Sánchez during the Ibero-American Summit in Andorra, Spain began donating 7.5 million vaccines to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean via the COVAX Facility. In total, Spain pledged to donate 22.5 million vaccines globally, as well as US$122 million to expand vaccination coverage against COVID-19 in 92 countries that receive vaccines as part of the COVAX Advance Market Commitment (AMC).
As well as supporting the arrival of the vaccines through its Revolving Fund, PAHO provided all the technical and financial support for the logistics related to the delivery of the vaccines. To date, over 75 million doses of vaccine against COVID-19 have been delivered to 33 countries in the region via COVAX.