CARICOM Secretary-General Praises Region’s Vaccine Sharing

CARICOM Irwin LaRocque
Secretary General of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Irwin LaRocque

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRoque on Friday praised the strong solidarity within member states share their limited first batches of COVID-19 vaccines.

The Secretary-General’s comment came as he led his CARICOM Secretariat Staff in taking vaccine shots from 100 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine provided by Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley.

Mottley also made donations to Guyana and other CARICOM neighbours from its supply of 100,000 doses received from India. Dominica, which also received 70,000 doses from India, has shared with some Eastern Caribbean territories.

“This shows the solidarity that exists in CARICOMWe’ve always addressed the issue of COVID-19 as a collective,” the Secretary-General said.

“When we were in a spot of bother last year, those countries that were able to get PPEs (personal protective equipment), reagents and Test Kits  were also able to share with others.”

Ambassador LaRoque thanked President Irfaan Ali of Guyana for arranging for Guyana’s Ministry of Health to vaccinate the CARICOM Secretariat Staff.

He also thanked Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India for his generous contribution of 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines to the Caribbean Community, calling it “a tangible expression of goodwill in this challenging time”.

The Secretary-General encouraged the people of the region to take the vaccine, but to also continue to observe the COVID-19 preventative measures – including social distancing, regular washing of hands, and not touching eyes, nose and mouth.

Friday’s vaccination exercise also saw strong endorsement of the AstraZeneca vaccine and its effectiveness from the CARICOM Secretariat’s Assistant Secretary-General for Human and Social Development Dr. Douglas Slater, a public health physician.

“We know that it works and I am encouraging all of our citizens to take it. If you take the vaccine you will be protected against serious illness and death,” Dr Slater said.

CMC

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