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Dr Carissa Etienne

The COVAX facility is set to roll out 28.7 million doses to members within the next three months.

The timing is important as currently, more than one million positive COVID-19 cases were reported across the Americas this past week.

Both bits of information was revealed at the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) press briefing yesterday.

Director Dr Carissa Etienne said that in the Caribbean, larger islands have seen a dip in cases while countries like Cuba, the Bahamas, Saint Lucia and Guadeloupe are seeing a rise in infections.

Fortunately, she said, the distribution of the COVAX vaccines across the region is also on the rise.

“We’ve been very pleased with how quickly countries in our region have responded to COVAX agreements so they can begin to receive the 28.7 million doses that have been allocated to the Americas over the next three months,” she said.

“I am happy to report that vaccinations continue across our region. More than 113 million people have received a COVID vaccine in the Americas as of this week, and more people are being vaccinated every day,” Etienne said.

Bahamas, Etienne said, received 20,000 doses of AstraZeneca from India.

“Peru has also received its first shipments of the Pfizer vaccine through COVAX. Last week, Colombia became the first country in Latin America to receive vaccines via the COVAX mechanism. Today, these doses are being delivered to at-risk groups, including indigenous communities in the country’s Amazon region,” she said.

Etienne said that every country participating in COVAX has been informed about the number of doses they will be receiving through May of this year.

Back in February, Minister of Health Terrence Deyalsingh said that T&T was set to receive 100,000 to 120,000 doses of vaccines through the Covax facility.

However, because of global shortages, the country was forced to accept one-third of that amount by the end of March – 33,600 to be exact.

Several Caribbean countries have had their deliveries split into three tranches, all expected to be delivered by the end of May.