Reclaman a EE.UU. vacunas para países caribeños
El primer ministro de Antigua y Barbuda, Gaston Browne, pidió al estadounidense Joe Biden, que incluya a los países de la Comunidad del Caribe (Caricom) en el suministro de vacunas que entregará a México y Canadá.
En una carta al jefe de la Casa Blanca, el gobernante enfatizó que la región caribeña constituye la tercera frontera de Estados Unidos y es una de las más afectadas por la pandemia de la Covid-19, enfermedad causada por el SARS-CoV-2.
El gobierno norteamericano cuenta con decenas de millones de dosis almacenadas de la vacuna producida por Astrazeneca y que todavía no tienen la autorización de la Administración de Medicamentos y Alimentos (FDA, por sus siglas en inglés) para su uso de emergencia.
La semana pasada, la administración Biden expresó su propósito de entregar 2,5 millones de esos antídotos a México y 1,5 millones a Canadá, sus vecinos colindates.
En ese sentido, Browne sostuvo que si las poblaciones de esos dos países no se vacunan para lograr la inmunidad colectiva, la seguridad de los estadounidenses estaría en peligro y por la misma razón Washington no debe descuidar a los Estados de Caricom.
Insistió en que la pandemia causó en el Caribe una contracción del 30 por ciento de la economía y un aumento del 50 por ciento del desempleo, mientras que la pobreza se ha expandido y los ingresos disminuyeron vertiginosamente
Todo eso, dijo en su misiva, ‘nos ha obligado a incrementar la deuda en la que hemos tenido que incurrir a altas tasas de interés’.
Afirmó que la vulnerabilidad de los estados debe convertirse en un criterio importante en la provisión de vacunas, al advertir que muchos países del Caribe ‘están en peligro de colapsar debido a una esclerosis económica masiva’.
Browne llamó a abordar esa situación para evitar ‘un desmoronamiento de los sistemas de seguridad del que se aprovecharán narcotraficantes, lavadores de dinero, traficantes de personas y crimen organizado en detrimento de nuestros países y de Estados Unidos’, además de una oleada de refugiados.
Y subrayó a Biden que tenga en cuenta al Caribe en su plan de hacer que Estados Unidos sea más seguro, contribuyendo a la seguridad de sus vecinos.
A&B: PM Browne Angry Over US Omitting Caribbean for Vaccine Donations
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne has hit out at last week’s announcement by the US that it is sending four million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine to Mexico and Canada- and omitting the Caribbean.
Mexico is set to receive 2.5m doses and Canada1.5m doses by way of “loans” in the US’s first export of shots.
Browne expressed his disappointment to radio listeners on Saturday saying, “a week before that announcement was made, we did say to Canada and the United States that they should assist the Caribbean region. They are like our bigger brothers and you know when you have a crisis like this, you have to be your brother’s keeper and your sister’s protector and I cannot see how they can be making these policy decisions to assist Canada and Mexico and leave the Caribbean out”.
He continued, “In fact, I find it astonishing that Caribbean countries have been left now to shop for vaccines out of Russia, China and elsewhere and our big brother to the north has vaccines that they are willing to donate and you’re not including your ‘third border’.”
Browne previously wrote to US President Joe Biden lobbying for a donation of vaccines to Caricom countries, but it appears that he is yet to receive a response.
Meanwhile the local Pharmaceutical Council has approved the importation of two more vaccines into Antigua and Barbuda, namely the Chinese vaccine, Sinopharm, and the Russian vaccine, Sputnik V.
Browne reiterated this over the weekend. “We have written to the Pharmacy Council to ask them for the approval to import the Sputnik vaccine for sure, and the Chinese vaccine Sinopharm,” he said.
“We have gotten approval for the importation of the two vaccines, so we are making attempts to get in those vaccines as soon as possible.”
He explained that when these jabs gain approval from international bodies such as the World Health Organization they will be nabbed by wealthier nations.
In fact, Browne shared that a Russian official had told the government via Zoom that, “based on the increase now in the amount of emergency authorisations that they have, and the orders they have had, they cannot guarantee what amount, even though we know we will get some Sputnik, but it is now in high demand.”
The Prime Minister said Sputnik’s high demand is due to its effectiveness in preventing Covid-19 infections.
“The Sputnik vaccine ranks with the Pfizer and the Moderna; it has a 93 percent efficacy, so it is a really good vaccine using the old vaccine technology,” he stated.
He said that Sputnik has even got excellent reviews from some of the world’s most respected medical journals.
But the government is still hoping to receive more AstraZeneca vaccines, he added.
Russia’s first approved vaccine was developed and produced entirely domestically – and has a name intentionally invoking the space race of the 1950s. As the world’s first registered vaccine against Covid-19, it is said to have shown an efficacy rate of more than 90 percent.
St. Kitts-Nevis Foreign Minister lobbies US for COVID-19 vaccines
Premier Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs for St. Kitts and Nevis, has made intervention to its ally the United States of America for the provision of COVID-19 vaccines for the federation and the rest of the Caribbean region.
Brantley, through recent correspondence to the US Ambassador to the Eastern Caribbean, the OECS and Barbados, Linda Taglialatela, implored the US government to make vaccines available to the small island developing states with some urgency.
“We in the Caribbean continue to make the passionate plea that vaccines be made available to us with some alacrity … We are aware from reports in the New York Times just yesterday that the great United States of America has made vaccines available to Mexico and Canada.
“I have myself indicated to the United States that … having benefitted the other two borders Mexico and Canada, that it would perhaps be useful for them to think of their third border, the Caribbean, and to make vaccines available to us in the region as well,” he said.
The Premier made the disclosure during his presentation at a virtual forum hosted by the Organisation of American States (OAS) on “Legal challenges faced by the Caribbean in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic”, held March19, 2021.
The Foreign Minister noted that St. Kitts and Nevis and the wider Caribbean region, including Latin America, have been experiencing some challenges accessing COVID-19 vaccines.
He urged the OAS General Secretary for assistance in this regard.
“The difficulty of course, is that we have not been able to access sufficient vaccines to satisfy our populations…
“The other issue of course has to do with the equality of vaccine access and that has proven problematic, because naturally some countries are in a better financial position than others, some countries are themselves producers of vaccines.
“And I’m happy Secretary General that you are here because I think through your office we can assist each other in saying that there has to be a human right to the equitable access of vaccines, because as we have said and continue to maintain, none of us is safe until all of us are safe.
“And so Secretary General I would urge the OAS to be a voice and an advocate for us in that regard…I feel that we have vested interest in insisting that vaccines be made available to our people on an equitable basis,” he said.
Luis Amalgro, OAS Secretary General, who was also a participant in the important forum, said he was in agreement with Minister Brantley’s position on equitable access to the vaccine for the region.
“I completely agree with you. I have assumed the challenge you have put on us and I think we should work very hard in relation to this matter. Most of us agree that the COVID-19 vaccine should be distributed fairly worldwide because we believe in the principle of fairness…
“The global pandemic requires a response based on unity, solidarity and multi-lateral cooperation to ensure that all states have access to vaccines,” he said.
The OAS Secretary General said he too joins the call for equal access to and equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.