BELIZE CITY, Thurs. Feb. 25, 2021– Since our last COVID-19 update, the country has moved a step closer to the launch of the vaccination program. On Wednesday, 1,000 vaccines arrived on a cargo flight from Barbados. The COVISHIELD vaccine, produced by India’s Serum Institute in partnership with AstraZeneca, is said to have a 63% rate of efficacy against the COVID-19 virus.
The first five hundred Belizean citizens selected to receive the vaccine — possibly frontline workers, and others from high-risk groups — will be given their first jab within the coming days. The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) is expected to conduct a full briefing on Monday regarding the vaccination rollout.
The country, at this time, is still awaiting the arrival of the vaccines scheduled to be sent from the COVAX facility before the end of the first quarter of this year. Approximately 100,800 vaccines are scheduled to arrive in Belize to begin the first round of inoculation in the country. As mentioned, 30 percent of the population will be vaccinated in the first phase with this initial batch of jabs.
The benchmark percentage of the population that must be vaccinated to achieve herd immunity within each country has been estimated by experts to be about 70%. The Oxford-AstraZenca vaccine that will soon arrive in the country is permitted for use only in persons 18 or older. This means that only 240,000 persons, or 58% of our population, would be immunized, unless another vaccine is introduced for our younger population by the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Of note, the Pfizer vaccine can be administered to persons 16 years of age or older.
In regards to recent COVID-19 numbers, a total of 9 new cases have been identified from a batch of 552 tests, according to data released today, February 25, 2021. Also, 8 recoveries have been recorded in today’s data. Currently, around 7 persons are hospitalized due to COVID-19 symptoms, with two of those persons needing intensive care.
Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Belize, a total of 12,280 confirmed cases have been identified. Of that total number of infected persons, 96.3% have recovered — a total of 11,824 persons. Unfortunately, 314 fatalities related to COVID-19 have been recorded to date.
On February 24, the COVID-19 infographic indicated a total of 7 new cases from a batch of 670 tests conducted. Also, 17 additional recoveries were recorded. Unfortunately, one death, of a woman from the Cayo District, was recorded in that day’s data.
On February 23, a total of 1,579 tests were processed across the country. Among those samples tested, only 9 new confirmed cases were identified —a daily positivity rate of 0.57 %. Twelve additional recoveries were identified and no new death related to COVID-19 was recorded on that day.
A new COVID-19 variant is spreading across New York City, dubbed B.1.526 or the New York variant. According to the New York Times, this variant is said to be spreading rapidly in New York City and may have the ability to evade antibodies and bind more tightly onto human cells. The variant appeared in samples taken in New York from November 2020 to mid-February.
Globally, the recent COVID-19 numbers are as follows: As of 4:20 p.m. CET, on Wednesday, February 25, 2021, there have been 112,209,815 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 2,490,776 deaths, reported to WHO.