Health officials in Barbados are now in a position to fully vaccinate another 15,000 of its citizens against COVID-19, following a donation of 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine by the Government of Canada.
The gift, which arrived at the Grantley Adams International Airport on Wednesday afternoon as the country continues to battle a surge in new cases, driven by the Delta variant of the virus, was received by Prime Minister Mia Mottley who said Barbados and Canada have built strong ties of cooperation, particularly during the past half-century and hailed the donation as “yet another example of the fruits of our friendship”.
“There is absolutely no doubt in my mind, as I have said repeatedly, that vaccination is the most important and potent layer of protection available to our people,” Mottley said. “The only way we will get our economy firing again at the level that is necessary to support our society is to get our people vaccinated.
“This gift from the Government of Canada will help to propel us along this path, and I encourage every Barbadian to take advantage of it as quickly as possible.”
The latest COVID-19 update provided on Wednesday disclosed that a 65-year-old Barbadian woman was the 51st person to die here from the virus since the pandemic began. The woman, who showed up at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital’s Accident & Emergency Department on Tuesday, had underlying health issues and was not vaccinated.
Prime Minister Mottley has consistently warned since the start of the pandemic, but especially since the discovery of more virulent strains that have been testing the capacity of countries all over the world, that developed countries with the wherewithal to dominate purchasing that their people will never be truly safe until people everywhere also have access to the vaccine.
Canada’s donation of the 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine is being viewed by Barbados as an acceptance and appreciation of Barbados’ position on the need for the equitable distribution of vaccines.
Canada has supported the global effort to beat the pandemic through measures such as the mobilisation of more than $2.5 billion in international assistance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to this bilateral vaccine donation, Canada has actively supported Barbados throughout the pandemic to respond to the global crisis and facilitate access to vaccines, including, through the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility.
The Canadian Armed Forces have provided airlift to transport COVID-19 related humanitarian and medical supplies to the temporary Integrated Regional Logistic Hub in Barbados, and are now working towards the establishment of a permanent logistics hub and training facility in Barbados.
Canada’s regional support to the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has also helped the Barbados Defence Force’s Emergency Medical Team establish and equip a COVID-19 isolation facility, which converts to a mobile field hospital for the region in the event of a disaster.