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Barbados deposits funds for COVID-19 vaccines

Barbados deposits funds for COVID-19 vaccines
Minister of Health Jeffrey Bostic. (Picture by Reco Moore)

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Barbados is one of the first countries to deposit funds for the procurement of the COVID-19 vaccine and Minister of Health and Wellness Jeffrey Bostic said today he will be taking the vaccine when it becomes available.

PAHO/WHO Representative to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean, Dr Yitades Gebre revealed that “Barbados is one of the first countries to take action” for the procurement of the vaccine.

They were speaking during a presentation of a vehicle and biomedical supplies to the ministry by PAHO today.

Bostic, in speaking to the readiness of Barbados to administer the vaccine once received, stated that although a deposit of $1.2 million was made through the COVAX Facility, there is still much work to be done before the vaccine could be offered to the public.

The facility is a partnership with the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and its immunisation revolving fund, and the Caribbean Public Health Agency.

“We have started the process of developing the mechanisms to be able to deal with the execution now of the delivery of vaccines when they become available. That in itself is a massive undertaking requiring a lot of planning.

“A lot of logistics and also a lot of communications with the public to be able to get persons in Barbados to understand the importance of taking the vaccine,” Bostic said.

“And we are not doing this blindly, because we have a very proud history of executing a very efficient and effective immunisation programme in this country for decades, which really has redounded to the benefit of young Barbadians who are now adults, and we will continue to operate in that vein, with the delivery of the COVID vaccine,” Bostic explained.

In a statement issued by Barbados Government Information Service, Bostic acknowledged that there is an anti-vaccine movement worldwide.

He noted, however, that over the years Barbados has had around an 84 per cent success rate in implementing vaccines and due diligence and research is being carried out on the vaccine.

“As a soldier I lead by example, so I will take the vaccine, and I’ll do that publicly,” Bostic said.

He revealed that the deposit made towards acquiring the vaccine guarantees Barbados, in the first instance, enough vaccines to cover 20 per cent of the population, and the decision as to how it would be administered would be made at the highest level.

Bostic said the Ministry of Health and Wellness would make its recommendation from a health perspective, but noted other national factors would be taken into account.

He thanked PAHO for its assistance in managing the COVID-19 pandemic. (BGIS)