The government of Argentina has donated 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine to Barbados in an effort to help in the fight against the pandemic.
The shipment that arrived on Saturday at the Grantley Adams International Airport, was accepted by Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic; Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, and Director of the Drug Service, Maryam Hinds.
“No country will be safe until all countries are safe and actively participate in the global system of reciprocity constituted by the donation of vaccines to reduce the contagion and the effects of the global pandemic of COVID-19. This collaboration is also a recognition of the historical friendship between Argentina and the Caribbean region and the support we permanently receive from our friends,” said the Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the Argentine Republic in Barbados, Ángel Dalmazzo, who officially handed over the vaccines .
The donation was coordinated by the Argentine White Helmets, a humanitarian institution with an active presence in the region. Besides the 30,000 doses received by Barbados, donations of AstraZeneca vaccines have already been sent to Mozambique, Vietnam , Angola, Grenada, St Vincent and the Grenadines and Dominica
According to Best, the Ministry of Health and Wellness was grateful for the donation of the vaccines, which, he said, would help boost the efforts of the National Vaccination Programme for COVID-19.
“We’re approaching the one-year mark for the vaccination programme. For the initial months of the programme accessing vaccines was difficult; we really relied on the goodwill of countries to assist small island developing states, like Barbados.
“Thankfully, we’re no longer there in terms of vaccine supply. There is still a lot of global inequity where vaccines are concerned and we are grateful to the more developed countries for providing vaccines to small countries like Barbados because our leverage is not the same as theirs.”
The Deputy Chief Medical Officer added that vaccines were safe and effective and a lot more data was now available to prove this than when the National Vaccination Programme first started.
He pointed out that while there would continue to be persons who were vaccine-hesitant, the fact remained that vaccines were key to helping Barbados and the rest of the world out of the current pandemic.