Guyana joins CARICOM’s call for equitable distribution of Covid vaccines

– at UN’s Economic and Social Council special meeting

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony has joined CARICOM’s call for an equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Minister made this appeal on Friday in his address to the virtual United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) special high-level meeting, on “A Vaccine for All.”

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony

“CARICOM remains deeply concerned about the inequitable access and unbalanced distribution of COVID-19 vaccines globally. Our small developing states continue to experience the devastating health and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, as a result of the lockdown measures, supply chain disruptions, sharp declines in remittances and a general decrease in travel, trade, and other economic activities.”

Minister Anthony said global and equitable access to vaccines would lessen the impact of the pandemic and bolster the economies of the 15 CARICOM Member States.

“Unless safe and effective vaccines are made available, affordable and accessible to all, many vulnerable countries and peoples, including us in CARICOM, would continue to suffer.”

The Minister reiterated the need for full funding for access to COVID-19 tools accelerator and the COVAX facility, led by the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as low-cost financing for countries.

“We appeal to the international financial institutions to provide low-cost financing to all developing countries, particularly small states, so as to help to contain and suppress the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Dr. Anthony also thanked the COVAX facility for starting the distribution of vaccines in the Caribbean, even as he called for enhanced international cooperation.

“We therefore urge developed countries, particularly those in our neighbourhood with populations that travel frequently to our Region, and who hosts our largest diaspora populations, to make an interim supply of vaccines to the community, given the immediacy of the need.”

Minister Anthony is calling for a global summit to urgently address this issue as the pandemic prevails.

The Guyana Government has been actively engaging other nations and developers of Covid vaccines to ensure Guyanese are inoculated.  As of Wednesday April 15, over 73,000 persons received their vaccines.

To date, Guyana has received 3000 doses of vaccines from Barbados, 80,000 from India, 20, 000 from the People’s Republic of China and 24, 000 doses through the COVAX facility. Guyana also purchased 200,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from Russia and has so far received 55,000 doses. Another 83,000 doses are expected early next week.