Bridgetown, Barbados, 24 August 2021 (PAHO / WHO) - Today, Barbados 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, Lt. Col. the Hon. Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. Yitades Gebre, PAHO / WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries, Ms. Linda Taglialatela, Ambassador of the United States of America, Mr. Teruhiko Shinada, Ambassador of Japan, Ms. Malgorzata Wasilewska, Ambassador of the European Union, Mr. Scott Furssedonn-Wood, British High Commissioner, Mr. Aloys Kamuragiye, Representative UNICEF Office and Acting Resident Coordinator, United Nations Office in Barbados, Ms. Ann Cleminson, Charge d'Affaires, High Commission of Canada, and other government officials attended the handing over ceremony.
This is the third batch of vaccines delivered to Barbados, the other shipments arrived in April and May 2021. In total Barbados has received 100,800 doses of vaccines through 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. 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 4,668 cases and 48 deaths as a result of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. To date 103,200 persons have been immunized, with 90,675 persons fully vaccinated.
“We come here today in the spirit of partnership, because it is through the partnership of GAVI and COVAX and our individual countries across the world, that we have begun to make a dent in this battle against COVID. We know that the vaccines are one of the most critical components in battle ”said Hon Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados. “We go to battle having prepared ourselves to fight. And those constituent elements of the armory are very clear, vaccines being the most important but nevertheless as you are seeing around me masking, physical distancing where possible and sanitizing, ”she said.
"There is good progress in Barbados that 1 in 3 persons are now fully vaccinated. The vaccination coverage has increased by two-fold from May 17 to August 16, 2021. If vaccines are widely available and accepted by the most skeptic, and hesitant vulnerable population, Barbados should achieve the target of 40% by the end of September and maintain 60% immune population before its historic political achievement in 2022 "said Dr Yitades Gebre, PAHO / WHO Representative for Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Countries.
“Today is indeed a happy and historic day for our country, it is the first time that we can say we have the capacity now to offer three choices of vaccines to our country men and women. It started with Astra Zeneca, then we had Sinopharm and we have recently been able to acquire the Pfizer vaccines, ”said Lt. Col. the Honorable Jeffrey Bostic, Minister of Health and Wellness.
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 organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank, and others. In the Americas, the PAHO Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for the COVAX facility.