CARICOM head praises members for sharing vaccines
Georgetown – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque on Friday praised the strong solidarity as member states shared their limited first batches of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.
The Secretary-General’s comment came as he led his CARICOM Secretariat Staff in taking vaccine shots from 100 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine provided by Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley.
Mottley also made donations to Guyana and other CARICOM neighbours from Barbados’ supply of 100 000 doses received from India. Dominica, which also received 70 000 doses from India, has shared with some Eastern Caribbean territories.
“This shows the solidarity that exists in CARICOM. We’ve always addressed the issue of COVID-19 as a collective,” the Secretary-General said.
“When we were in a spot of bother last year, those countries that were able to get PPEs [personal protective equipment], reagents and test kits were also able to share with others.”
LaRocque thanked Guyana’s President Irfaan Ali for arranging for the ministry of health to vaccinate the CARICOM Secretariat staff.
He also thanked India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his generous contribution of 500 000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Caribbean Community, calling it “a tangible expression of goodwill in this challenging time”.
The Secretary-General encouraged the people of the region to take the vaccine, but to also continue to observe the COVID-19 preventative measures – including social distancing and regular washing of hands.
Friday’s vaccination exercise also saw strong endorsement of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and its effectiveness from the CARICOM Secretariat’s Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development Dr Douglas Slater, a public health physician.
“We know that it works and I am encouraging all of our citizens to take it. If you take the vaccine you will be protected against serious illness and death,” Slater said. (CMC)