Caribbean: The United States Government, on March 29, 2022, announced new plans to provide COVID-19 assistance through the USAID United States Agency for International Development, worth US$1.5 million for countries in the Eastern Caribbean region, including Barbados, Guyana, and Suriname, The Bahamas, and Trinidad and Tobago.
The assistance has been focusing on providing help to the countries by deploying vaccines and readiness. This would also include efforts to combat mis- and dis-information about the COVID-19 vaccine. The additional support will also assist the community vaccination campaigns and engagement activities, strengthen the cold chain environment, train healthcare workers, and develop regional and country-specific campaigns to increase vaccine uptake.
The activities will be implemented by the local, regional, and international organizations such as the local Ministries of Health, local non-governmental organizations, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF, and the USAID Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) project.
U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Shante Moore was quoted as, “This funding comes at an opportune time to increase the vaccination coverage of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. We are encouraged to see that slightly more than 50 percent of the Trinbagonian population has now been fully vaccinated, but we need to do more to increase the numbers.”
“The funding will fill key gaps to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine uptake and strengthen countries’ preparedness for future pandemic threats,” USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean Clinton D. White mentioned.
This additional assistance builds on previous COVID-19 support to Caribbean countries. USAID has provided nearly US$63 million in COVID-19 assistance to the Caribbean to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes more than US$7 million specifically for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region since the beginning of the pandemic.
Assistance to Trinidad and Tobago-funded ambulance retrofitting to support vaccination activities, hand sanitizer units at health facilities and ports of entry, and COVID-19 messaging across the country.