CARICOM | Six CARICOM countries receive 800K Pfizer vaccine donations from US

CARICOM | Six CARICOM countries receive 800K Pfizer vaccine donations from US

KINGSTON, Jamaica August 11, 2021 -  Just over 800,000 Pfizer vaccines will be delivered to six CARICOM countries by the United States government as the region struggles to fight a spike in COVID-19 cases amid violent anti-vaccine protests in some nations.

The Bahamas will receive 397,000 doses followed by Trinidad and Tobago with more than 305,000 doses. Barbados will receive 70,200 doses, while 35,100 are slated for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, 17,550 for Antigua and 11,700 for St. Kitts and Nevis.

The announcement by the U.S. government comes amid recent anti-vaccine protests in Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados  and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, whose prime minister was hit in the head with a rock last week and was briefly hospitalized.

Two firefighters in Guadeloupe were injured during recent protests against a COVID-19 curfew, according to a government statement. A similar protest also was reported in nearby Martinique, where a spike in that country is blamed on the delta variant and low vaccination rates.

Officials in Martinique issued new regulations including shutting down beaches and nonessential businesses and ordering people to not venture farther than roughly half a mile (1 kilometer) from home. Meanwhile, officials in the U.S. Virgin Islands announced upcoming measures including closing beaches by late afternoon on weekends.

Among the islands most struggling with a spike in COVID-19 cases are the Bahamas, Curacao, Martinique, Guadeloupe and Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.

In Jamaica, for which no announcement of US vaccine donation has been made, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said no permits will be granted for entertainment events over the next three weeks, as the Government moves to contain the current spike in coronavirus (COVID) cases.

From August 11 to August 31, no small or large events such as concerts, parties, tailgate parties and round robins will be permitted. During this period, nightclubs and certain places of amusement are to be closed. In addition, gyms, restaurants, zoos, parks, and bars are to operate at a maximum of 50 percent of capacity.

Holness further informed that no more than 50 persons will be permitted to physically attend a wedding and a limit of 30 persons is in place for funeral services and burials. mourners as well as clergy and any support personnel.

Director of the Pan American Health Organization,Dr. Carissa Etienne, today urged Caribbean citizens to get vaccinated and follow public health measures.

“I am truly very concerned about what is happening in the Caribbean," she said, noting that some islanders and even health care workers are rejecting the vaccines. “We are playing with our lives.”

The Caribbean region has reported more than 1.29 million cases and more than 16,000 deaths, with some 10.7 million people vaccinated so far, according to the Trinidad-based Caribbean Public Health Agency.

Among the hardest hit Caribbean nations is Haiti, which on July 14 received its first vaccine shipment since the pandemic began — 500,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine donated by the U.S. via the United Nations’ COVAX program for low-income countries.

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