Comenzó la vacunación en Barbados mientras Antigua y Barbuda, Guyana y Dominica reciben dosis donadas por India
Barbados, Dominica y países Caribe Oriental se benefician de vacunas de India
Barbados, Dominica y los países de la Organización de Estados del Caribe Oriental (OECO) se beneficiarán de las vacunas contra la covid-19 donadas por el Gobierno de India, según informó este miércoles el Gobierno barbadense.
Today our Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George; Co-Coordinator of the National COVID-19 vaccine campaign, Major David Clarke and; Co-Coordinator of the National COVID-19 vaccine campaign, Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand, received their first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine today. pic.twitter.com/Z5hDGtjaRt
— Mia Amor Mottley (@miaamormottley) February 10, 2021
La primera ministra de Barbados, Mia Mottley, anunció en conferencia de prensa virtual que un avión aterrizó este miércoles en el Aeropuerto Internacional Grantley Adams de ese territorio caribeño con un cargamento de 100.000 dosis de la vacuna de la farmacéutica Oxford-AstraZeneca de fabricación india, mientras que otras 70.000 se enviaron a Dominica.
Las siete naciones miembros de la OECO, así como Guyana y Trinidad y Tobago, también se beneficiarán de la ayuda enviada por India, dijo Mottley.
Destacó además que la colaboración fue clave en la lucha contra la covid-19, tras reconocer que el primer ministro de Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit realizó un gran esfuerzo para la llegada de las vacunas.
“Queremos que algunas de las vacunas que hemos recibido vayan a nuestros hermanos y hermanas de esos territorios -OECO-“, destacó.
“Espero que Barbados, Dominica y el resto del Caribe puedan ser un ejemplo para el mundo sobre cómo cooperar”, indicó.
Mottley también reveló que se negocia con el Gobierno de India un segundo cargamento de la vacuna para Barbados.
“Todavía estamos en negociaciones para ese segundo lote, pero realmente queremos, en esta etapa, decir gracias al pueblo y gobierno de la India. Realmente este ha sido un momento muy especial para nuestra gente”, destacó.
Mottley también insistió en que la vacuna era “altamente segura y eficaz”.
“Estas no son mis palabras, sino las de científicos y expertos médicos clave en todo el mundo. Ha pasado por los protocolos de prueba y aprobación más rigurosos “, aseguró.
Mottley agregó que la vacuna Oxford-AstraZeneca no es el primer producto farmacéutico fabricado en India que los barbadenses usan.
“De hecho, muchos de los medicamentos más comunes utilizados por los habitantes de Barbados para una serie de dolencias y enfermedades se fabrican en la India”, señaló.
“Nuestra confianza en la habilidad, la ciencia y los estándares de los fabricantes en la India es inquebrantable”, agregó.
“Creemos que con todas las vacunas que existen, esta es una de las más adecuadas para Barbados y otras naciones tropicales como la nuestra, porque las temperaturas requeridas para el almacenamiento no son tan rigurosas como algunas de las otras vacunas”, subrayó.
También apoyó el uso de esta vacuna el primer ministro de Dominica, Roosevelt Skerrit, quien se unió a la conferencia de prensa a través de Zoom.
COVID-19 vaccines land
A Regional Security System (RSS) aircraft touched down at Grantley Adams International Airport Tuesday evening bearing an historic gift of 100,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine for Barbados.
An excited Prime Minister Mia Mottley was on hand with other members of her Cabinet to welcome the vaccines courtesy the government of India and which, Mottley revealed, will be administered to 50,000 Barbadians starting with frontline workers before this weekend.
The Prime Minister told a virtual press briefing that her Government expects to buy another 100,000 doses of the vaccine from India.
She said: “These are parts of the first batch of a potential 200,000 doses for Barbados. We are asking and hoping that we could purchase the remaining 100,000 doses from the government and people of India. We are still in the negotiations for that second batch, but we really want at this stage to say thank you to the people and government of India.”
The PM declared it a special moment in time for this country while commending the India Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “quick, decisive and magnanimous action” in allowing Barbados to be the beneficiary of these vaccines and sending them in the shortest possible time to aide in “our fight.”
She also disclosed that Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, who has worked closely with her in securing the vaccines, has agreed with her to share some of the vaccines with other Eastern Caribbean States. Mottley said Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana will also help.
Prime Minister Mottley sought to assure citizens, especially those who have doubts about the vaccine that Barbados has been using India-made pharmaceuticals for many years because its reputation and science in the field is globally respected.
In singing the praises of India as a longstanding friend, Mottley recalled $200,000 (US$100,000) in assistance last November to acquire Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and a recent agreement to receive an additional $1.35 million (US$675,000) to buy more material to help in the battle against COVID.
Describing the securing of the vaccine as momentous, the Prime Minister then turned her attention to explaining to citizens why Government chose the Oxford AstraZeneca jab over the others.
She said: “We know that we have a highly safe and effective vaccine. These are not my words but of key scientists and medical experts across the world. It has gone through the most rigorous and testing protocols and is currently being safely administered for thousands of people, whether in Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.
“But even with all the vaccines that exist, we are likely to have a period of time where boosters are going to be required because we are fundamentally in a race against time with respect to the variations and mutations of the vaccine.
“But we do believe that of all the vaccines out there, this is one of the most suited ones for Barbados and other tropical nations like our own because the temperatures required for storage are not as rigorous as some of the other vaccines although we are ensuring that if necessary we are in a position to also be able to store some of the more rigorous ones that require minus 80 degrees. This one, however, is stored at temperatures we are accustomed to in our country.”
The Prime Minister also said that many of those who are now raising fears about the COVID-19 vaccines are themselves the beneficiaries of vaccines during their childhood which have prevented them from contracting diseases such as mumps, measles and rubella.
“So I really hope that over the course of the next few days as we move to roll out the plan that would involve clearly the frontline workers… and frontline worker is defined broadly… of course those medically, those in law enforcement, those who help keep the State together, while at the same time going after the most vulnerable in our population,” Mottley said.
“And I give you the assurance that tomorrow [Dr] David Clarke, who I have put in charge of the logistics of the vaccine programme as well as [national vaccination coordinator] Dr [Elizabeth] Ferdinand will be in a position to… roll out and speak to you with respect to how the vaccines will be delivered over the course of the next few days… ten days or so.
“We hope that we will be in a position to procure additional vaccines, but as we do so, we say to Barbadians start having the discussions in your families and among yourselves. And why? Because you and I know that this country has one of the highest rates of NCD incidence…chronic non-communicable diseases in the world…and we, therefore, have to make sure that our people are not put additionally at risk as a result of the NCDs.”
But the Prime Minister insisted that right now, Government must make sure that people who take the vaccine, with advice from their doctors for safety purposes, can slow down the spread of the virus on the island.
Mottley is contending that once the vaccine can be taken safely it would prevent serious illness, hospitalization and even death.
Out-going Honorary Consul of India Dr Philomena Ann Mohini Harris read a message of friendship from the Indian High Commissioner based in Suriname in which the government in New Delhi promised more help to combat the COVID-19 pandemic here.
“The similar gesture of friendship and solidarity with other countries in the region has been extended and they will also be receiving the made in India COVASHIELD vaccine,” the message read in part.
The honorary consul went on to thank Prime Minister Modi for this “wonderful gesture of friendship”.
COVID-19 vaccines here
GUYANA’s first set of health workers will receive their COVID-19 vaccines today, following the arrival of a donation of 3,000 Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine doses from Barbados on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Barbados received 100,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, which is manufactured by the Serum Institute in India, and is called ‘Covishield’ in that country. Just after receiving that first set of COVID-19 vaccines from India, Barbados sent 3,000 vaccines to Guyana which will allow 1,500 persons to benefit, since these vaccines are given in two doses.
The vaccines arrived at the Ogle airport on Wednesday and they were received by Minister of Health, Dr Frank Anthony and Chief Medical Officer, Dr Narine Singh. Subsequently, 100 members of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretariat will be vaccinated from this set, while the remaining 2,800 doses will be given to 1,400 local frontline workers.
“(On Thursday), we will have an exercise… We’ll get persons from the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and those in charge at the Ocean View Facility (the National Infectious Diseases Hospital). We’ll start with those persons because they are really the ones who interact more often with the patients,” Dr Anthony said while at the Ogle Airport.
Dr Anthony emphasised that the vaccines will be distributed to those health workers who are at a higher risk of being exposed to the COVID-19 virus, but noted that health workers do have the option of refusing the vaccines if they do not want to take it.
“I wish to thank Prime Minister Mia Mottley and, by extension, the people of Barbados for sharing with us from their first batch of vaccines. This act of kindness is among many in recent months that Guyana and Barbados have shared,” President Dr Irfaan Ali said in a statement.
The President reminded that in the coming days and weeks, Guyana will be receiving its own sets of vaccines that the government has been able to secure through various engagements with the global vaccines alliance known as the COVAX facility, countries developing vaccines, vaccine manufacturers and other groups.
“I assure Guyanese that this issue is the top priority on our agenda and our aim is to ensure that every Guyanese is vaccinated before the end of the year,” President Ali emphasised further.
Barbados and Dominica were the first countries in the region to receive vaccines from India as part of India’s vaccine diplomacy efforts. And Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, said this is the first batch of a potential 200,000 doses of the vaccine from India, as negotiations are still ongoing.
According to Dr Anthony, as of today, this Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine will receive emergency use authorisation from the World Health Organization (WHO). This authorisation paves the way for Guyana to begin distributing it to its citizens.
The Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccine, reportedly, has an efficacy of 62 per cent. However, it is also reportedly 90 per cent efficacious with a lower dose than the required two doses. Importantly, the Oxford-Astrazeneca vaccines do not require cold or ultra-cold storage like the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines. They can be stored in a normal refrigerator, between two to eight degrees, which make them easier to distribute and more suitable for global south countries such as Guyana.
The storage of vaccines in higher temperatures, as opposed to the cold or ultra-cold storage, makes it easier to transport the vaccine doses to rural and hinterland regions. This would be particularly necessary in Guyana.
Altogether, thus far, Guyana has been able to secure 273,000 vaccine doses which could be used to immunise some 136,500 individuals, or approximately 18 per cent of the population. The government is in talks with India, Russia and China, in addition to a number of multilateral agencies and manufacturers of the vaccines, to secure more for the population, since vaccines are the means of exiting the pandemic.
The Health Minister has continuously emphasised that the vaccines will be used to immunise frontline workers, the elderly and persons with co-morbidities (other underlying medical conditions) first. There are about 22,000 healthcare workers who are all eligible to receive the vaccines, while the remainder will go to the other two groups.
Dr Anthony has also emphasised that widespread vaccination is the avenue through which Guyana, and all countries, would be able to exit the pandemic.
Dominica gifts 5000 doses of vaccine to Antigua
Antigua and Barbuda is set to receive 5000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines today, a gift from Dominica. The vaccines will be transported by an RSS aircraft to Antigua.
Information Minister of Antigua Melford Nicholas told a Cabinet press briefing yesterday, that all necessary preparations to receive and to store the vaccines are already in place.
It was agreed that frontline workers will be among the first to receive the vaccine when they arrive in Antigua.
The injections will serve 2,500 frontline workers; including the nurses and doctors at the hospitals in Antigua and Barbuda.
The vaccines will be administered in two doses; the second will follow 21 days after the first dosage.
A registry will be established that will list all those who will receive from the first batch beginning next week.
All this comes as COVID-19 cases in the twin island state have been increasing significantly.
Last night, that country recorded 31 new cases, bringing the total number of active cases to 175.
The total number of persons with laboratory confirmed COVID-19 cases in Antigua and Barbuda is three hundred and eighty-one 381.
Meanwhile, one hundred and seventy-three 173 samples are pending.
Dominica ‘ready to launch largest vaccination campaign in modern history’ – PM Skerrit
Prime Minister Roosevelt has said that Dominica is ready to launch the largest vaccination campaign in modern history as the country, on Tuesday, received 70,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine from India.
“The highly-hailed Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine that we have taken possession of this evening ensures that Dominica will launch the largest vaccination campaign in modern history in our country,” the prime minister said at a special ceremony held at the Douglas-Charles Airport to herald the arrival of the vaccine.
“Tonight signifies the start of the fight back by the Caribbean islands against the virus that has threatened the livelihood of every CARICOM national,” Skerrit stated.
He said the journey ahead may be a long one, “but I am certain that once we stay focused, keep our guards up and protect ourselves with this vaccine, we will rise again in our beautiful Caribbean region.”
According to Prime Minister Skerrit, from Tuesday evening, the vaccine was placed in the custody of Central Medical Stores and from Wednesday, the government would proceed to advance its public awareness campaign to include the registration of persons interested in receiving the vaccine.
“I have been advised by the Ministry of Health that we will start the vaccination exercise on February 22nd, 2021,” the prime minister revealed.
He said all systems have been put in place to ensure that recipients of the vaccine will be diligently monitored throughout their vaccination process.
“The latest research from the Oxford University reports that the protection provided by the first dose of the Oxford- AtraZeneca vaccine kicks in after 3 weeks and lasts right through to the second dose at the 3 month mark,” Skerrit stated adding that the latest studies indicate that this vaccine will reduce the likelihood of transmission to others.
“This means that Dominica, as a country, will soon be empowered to achieve a crucial objective which is to further minimize and eventually stamp out the impact of the various strains of Covid-19,” he stated.
The Prime Minister encourages all citizens to consider the danger of passing up the opportunity to get vaccinated in order to safeguard their health and that of their loved ones.
The vaccine has been placed under the custody of Central Medical Stores and from today morning, we will advance our public awareness campaign to include the registration of persons interested in receiving vaccines.
— Roosevelt Skerrit (@SkerritR) February 10, 2021
All systems have been put in place by the Ministry of Health to ensure that every recipient will be diligently monitored throughout the vaccination process.
— Roosevelt Skerrit (@SkerritR) February 10, 2021
Dominica will soon be empowered to achieve a crucial objective to stamp out the impact of the various strains of COVID-19.
— Roosevelt Skerrit (@SkerritR) February 10, 2021
He said Dominica will be sharing this gift received from India with a few member states in the OECS.
“Arrangements will be made to have some of the vaccines airlifted as early as Thursday to some of our brothers and sisters so that their frontline workers can be vaccinated to help stamp out the dreaded Covid-19 virus,” Prime Minister Skerrit revealed.
Meantime, Acting Minister of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment Kent Edwards said this is not the first time that the Ministry of Health will be introducing new vaccines.
“Most recently we saw the introduction of the human papillomavirus vaccine which is commonly known as the HPV,” he noted. “A few hours ago, we received a shipment of other vaccines that we use in the primary healthcare system from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) which already forms part of the immunization programme already run in Dominica.”
Edwards said these vaccines as well as the HPV are administered under the primary healthcare by a team of competent healthcare providers, “and be assured that the outcome of the Covid-19 vaccine is anticipated to be just as successful.”
He encourages the public to adhere to the necessary protocols to prevent the spread of Covid-19.
These include physical distancing, regular hand washing with soap and water, the use of 70% and above alcohol based hand sanitizer, practicing cough etiquette ( cough or sneeze into a tissue or your flexed elbow and wearing face masks in all public areas.
The Oxford- AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine has been administered in other countries including, India and the United Kingdom and has been proven to be effective against the Covid-19 pandemic. However, a study which found that it was less protective against a more virulent variant discovered in South Africa, has prompted AstraZeneca to move rapidly to adapt its Covid-19 vaccine in the face of new strains of the virus.
The World Health Organization (WHO) and its Covax (COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access Facility) have cautioned against dismissing the AstraZeneca vaccine, insisting that it remained an important, life-saving tool.
The AstraZeneca vaccine is currently a vital part of Covax, which was set up to procure Covid-19 vaccines and ensure their equitable distribution around the world.
It accounts for almost all of the 337.2 million vaccine doses Covax is preparing to begin shipping to some 145 countries during the first half of the year, with authorisation from the WHO.
Below is a video of the arrival of the vaccine at Douglas Charles airport on Tuesday.