India: The shipment of Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines has been dispatched from India through the OECS and would be distributed among five Caribbean nations including, St Lucia, St Kitts, and Nevis, St Vincent, and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and the Republic of Suriname. To maintain vaccine equity in the Caribbean, Special Representative of St Kitts and Nevis, Mr. Gurdip (Dev) Bath, acts as a catalyst to make the delivery possible.
The handling and transportation of Covishield vaccines donated by the Government of India are all under his supervision, said the Indian government source.
Mr. Bath has been granted full authorization to coordinate the handling and prior procedure of the vaccines’ facilitation on behalf of the Heads of government of all members islands of OECS. He is guiding the management of the shipment and plan of action to immunize the respective population.
The prompt delivery of vaccines to 5 more nations is also credited to the chairman of OECS and Prime Minister of Dominica Dr Roosevelt Skerrit who managed to convince the Indian government to make another donation for the Caribbean.
In St Lucia, 25,000 doses, St Kitts and Nevis to obtain 20,000, St Vincent and the Grenadines 40,000, Antigua and Barbuda 40,000 vaccines, and the Republic of Suriname to obtain 50,000 vaccines.
The report says, In Suriname, a plane will be sent to collect their consignment from Antigua and Barbuda.
The most complicated thing about COVID-19 vaccines is its delivery and preservation as most of the vaccines require incredibly low temperature. Oxford Astra-Zeneca is the only vaccine which can survive under regular fridge temperature. Moreover, COVID-19 vaccines must be given in double doses within three months times frame; hence, the immunization would not be effective if they are not inoculated for double jabs.
In this era of COVID-19, the world needs humanity to breathe and support to fight for their lives. As a man of words, PM Skerrit made it possible for the Republic of Suriname to secure consignments of vaccines for their nation, too, even though it doesn’t come under OECS.
Moreover, these Caribbean countries also took doses of vaccines from Dominica and Barbados earlier; however, that was only sufficient to immunize their front-line workers.
The economic and health impact of COVID-19 has left people of the Caribbean in dilapidated conditions as most of the countries rely upon tourism. Unfortunately, due to lockdowns and strict guidelines, people suffered significant setbacks. Immunization campaigns would help many locals to get back on their feet.
The OECS is a nine-member grouping comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St Kitts, and Nevis, St Lucia St Vincent, and the Grenadines. It stands for Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States.