Caribbean seals deal for 1M doses of expected COVID-19 vaccines -Guyana not among listed countries

Dr Joy St John
Dr Joy St John
Guyana is not listed in the PAHO press release as one of the 12 states to benefit.                

CARPHA Executive Director Dr Joy St John today underscored her appreciation for the swift commitment of the two agencies which resulted in the transfer of funds as a down payment to PAHO to be routed through Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is the administrator of the COVAX Facility.   

Speaking at a media briefing today, she noted that 12 CARPHA Member States  have signed up with Gavi, namely Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, the British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Turks and Caicos.

The release said that CARPHA is assisting 11 of these Member States, with all or a portion of the required down payment.  The down payment is approximately 15% of the value of vaccines that countries intend to procure in the future, ranging between 15% to 33% of their populations.

“We have been able to support Antigua, Barbados, British Virgin Islands, the Cayman Islands Jamaica and the Turks and Caicos Islands, with 100% of the down payment required by the COVAX Facility.  We have been able to support Suriname with 18% of the down payment required by the COVAX Facility.  These will cover just about 20% of the population in total,” Dr St John said.

Dr Carissa F. Etienne, Director of PAHO and Regional Director for the Americas of the World Health Organization, issued a message stating that the COVAX Facility provides the best opportunity for countries to fair and equitable access to a pool of candidate vaccines.

Under the agreement, the release said that PAHO will receive the funds from CARPHA for transfer to Gavi for the required down payments. When the vaccines are available, Member States will purchase them through the PAHO Revolving Fund.

Dr Jarbas Barbosa, Assistant Director at PAHO, said in the release that global equitable access to a vaccine through the COVAX facility, will allow the countries, in the first phase, to receive a number of doses that is equivalent to 20% of their population. This volume will enable them to protect health care workers, frontline workers, and those most-at-risk such as people with 65 years and more and adults with underlying conditions. The access to COVID-19 vaccine will be facilitated as a result of PAHO’s Revolving Fund, a 40-year mechanism which is working closely with the COVAX facility and will be responsible for purchasing and deploying vaccines when they are available.

“There have been a number of important developments in the search for a COVID-19 vaccine.  Nearly 200 vaccine candidates are being studied and the global health community is working diligently in the hopes that one or more of these will prove to be effective.  We do not yet know which vaccine or vaccines will be found safe and effective.  But we do know that if we don’t prepare now, we will miss the opportunity to benefit from it quickly.  There are currently 10 vaccines in Phase 3 of clinical trials, or the final stages of clinical trials, all of them in negotiations with the COVAX Facility” Dr Barbosa explained.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, in the 20 CARICOM countries there have been over 40,000 reported cases and 864 deaths (as of 14 October). The initial vaccination coverage facilitated by the grant will prioritise healthcare and frontline workers, the release noted.
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  • Jasmine  On 10/17/2020 at 12:26 pm

    Regardless of what is being said, there’s no way that a safe and effective vaccine can be found in such a short space of time, especially for a virus of this magnitude. People are going to be used as guinea pigs, and as usual they testing it on black people.

  • Dennis Albert  On 10/17/2020 at 1:36 pm

    Dem islanders does tell the Guyanese Diaspora abroad that Guyana and Suriname are not Caribbean; but South American. What is it really?

  • Linda  On 10/17/2020 at 2:38 pm

    Geographically Guyana is a South American country but because we’re the only English speaking country in South America we have always been identified as West Indian as we share basically the same culture as the Caribbean.

    • Dennis Albert  On 10/17/2020 at 8:29 pm

      Island people, except for Barbados think that Guyanese Diasporas should join the South American diasporas, even when the history of Guyana and Suriname are based mainly on the exploitation of the Caribbean Amerindian tribes, and the importation of slave labour (rather than the British for the islands, but we are from the Dutch Empire). In this regard, Guyana and Suriname are entirely different colonies compared to the rest of South America.

      By the way, French Guiana is considered an overseas territory of France, though we share the same history.

      In any case, the Caribbean and South American people must stand together rather than look down on one another.

  • Chris Prashad  On 10/17/2020 at 6:54 pm

    Thats the best thing that can happen for Guyana and the Guyanese people.

    • Linda  On 10/17/2020 at 7:33 pm

      Chris, please explain yourself as to what is the best thing that could happen to Guyana and the Guyanese people.

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