Even with the addition of the COVAX vaccines, CARICOM will only be able to cover about 20% of its needs, the group said. Some members have also been trying to broker deals through the African Union’s Medical Supplies Platform. (Representative Image)(REUTERS)
Even with the addition of the COVAX vaccines, CARICOM will only be able to cover about 20% of its needs, the group said. Some members have also been trying to broker deals through the African Union’s Medical Supplies Platform. (Representative Image)(REUTERS)

Caribbean countries ask wealthy nations to share vaccine supply

In a statement issued late Thursday, CARICOM said it was “dissatisfied and deeply concerned about the inequitable access to vaccines” it was facing.
Bloomberg |
PUBLISHED ON FEB 26, 2021 09:38 PM IST

The 15-country Caribbean Community has asked wealthy nations to share their supply of Covid-19 vaccines, saying their economies won’t be able to recover from the pandemic without them.

In a statement issued late Thursday, CARICOM said it was “dissatisfied and deeply concerned about the inequitable access to vaccines” it was facing.

While members states belong to the World Health Organizations’ COVAX Facility, the only vaccines received so far have been 170,000 shots that the government of India donated to Dominica and Barbados, the group said. Those two nations have been sharing their supply with other CARICOM members.

Even with the addition of the COVAX vaccines, CARICOM will only be able to cover about 20% of its needs, the group said. Some members have also been trying to broker deals through the African Union’s Medical Supplies Platform.

In a not-so subtle reference to the U.S. and Europe, CARICOM said that nations that drive tourism in the Caribbean -- and host the Caribbean diaspora -- should share their shots “given the immediacy of the need.”

CARICOM members include some of the most tourism-dependent nations on the planet, including Barbados, Belize and Saint Lucia, and access to vaccines is seen as vital to reopening their economies.

“This limited supply will not allow us to attain the regional herd immunity, so necessary to fuel the resilient recovery that we are seeking,” CARICOM said.

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