COVID-19 Vaccine Roll-out on Agenda for Heads of CARICOM Meeting

CARICOM foreign ministers

The roll-out of COVID-19 vaccines is included on the agenda when CARICOM Heads of Government hold their 32nd Inter-Sessional Meeting this week.

The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) are expected to address regional leaders on the pandemic. There will also be discussions on regional economic recovery and transformation.

“Access to vaccines is regarded as crucial to curbing the spread of COVID-19 infections in the region where many member states have experienced increases in positive cases,” CARICOM said in a statement on Monday.

The Heads of Government, meeting under the chairmanship of Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley, will also examine the status of implementation of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) and any outstanding issues which need to be resolved to ensure full benefits from the CSME are realized.

“The CSME is regarded as critical to the region’s strategy to build economic resilience, and it is felt that the COVID-19 pandemic has reinforced the need to accelerate the pace of the integration process,” the CARICOM statement said.

The meeting is also expected to consider recommendations from the CARICOM Commission on the Economy which was recently reconstituted and mandated to provide advice on implementable solutions to build resilience and push CARICOM economies along the path of sustainable growth and development.

The Heads of Government will also seek to advance the regional agenda on food and nutrition security, which has become increasingly challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic with its disruptions to productivity and access to healthy foods.

Also on the agenda are deliberations on a framework for a joint tourism policy for CARICOM which will, among other things, seek to address the impact of the pandemic on the region’s tourism industry and tourism-related revenue reduction on the Region’s overall economic performance.

The meeting is expected to discuss CARICOM relations with the new United States administration, and also deliberate on matters related to Reparations and Regional Security.

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