Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Director Dr. Carissa Etienne said Tuesday that by early next month, all Caribbean countries will have received their first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines under the COVAX Facility. In fact, some of them could get theirs by the end of this week. A live tracker on PAHO’s (Pan American Health Organization) website showed supplies are on their way to Suriname, Guyana, Belize and Trinidad & Tobago. Suriname will get 24,000 AstraZeneca doses on Friday, while Guyana and Belize will get 33,600 each on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively. As the recognized procurement agent for COVAX in Latin America and the Caribbean, PAHO’s Revolving Fund negotiates, purchases, and handles shipment logistics on behalf of the 36 countries participating in COVAX. COVAX, the global alliance to ensure equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines has helped deliver over 2.2 million doses to the region so far.
Belize continues to see a decline in new COVID-19 cases and active infections, reporting 2 new infections on average each day. However, the Caribbean country continues to be proactive in its efforts to contain COVID-19. Belize rolled out its national vaccination programme as of March 1, 2021. Being one of the first independent Caribbean nations to do so, Belize announced its 5-phase vaccination roll-out programme; frontline healthcare workers took priority, followed by the most vulnerable persons across the population. As of March 18, Belize entered Phase 2A. The country first secured 1,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca (COVISHIELD) through a donation from the people and Government of Barbados, then another 25,000 doses directly from the people and Government of India. Belize expects to receive another 100,800 doses before the end of March through the World Health Organization’s COVAX programme.