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COVID-19 vaccines to arrive by April?

BELIZE CITY, Tues. Jan 19, 2021– Recently the Minister of Health and Wellness, Hon. Michel Chebat, announced that officials from the Government of Belize and the Pan American Health Organization are currently working together to set a date for the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines to the country of Belize. Last year, the acting Director of Health Services, Dr. Melissa Diaz-Musa, had said that the vaccination roll-out would begin sometime in April of this year, 2021.

The president of the International Development Bank, Mauricio Claver-Carone, confirmed this timeline during an interview with Amandala in December 2020. In that interview, he said that vaccines are expected to reach the country by the “first-quarter of 2021.”

The Minister of Health and Wellness is asking all Belizeans to continue to practice patience and to give the Ministry and its partners a “little more time” to get the vaccines into the country. As previously reported in the Amandala, Belize has already paid 30% of its commitment to the COVAX facility, which will cover the cost of vaccination for at least 30% of our population, or around 120,000 persons, according to Dr. Marvin Manzanero.

The European Union has also committed sums of money to secure about 1 million vaccines for countries in the Caribbean. Belize is also one of six countries across Latin America and the Caribbean that are to receive direct support from the IDB for its vaccination efforts. In mid-December, the international financial institution announced that they reallocated around 1 billion dollars to support the vaccination efforts across these countries.

With the help of PAHO, the COVAX facility, and the Ministry of Health and Wellness, a comprehensive inoculation program is expected to be carried out to ensure that the most vulnerable members of the population receive the vaccination first. Data shows that over 33% of the deaths related to COVID-19 have been recorded in Latin America or the Caribbean, a region that makes up only 9% of the world’s population. These numbers tell the tale of how badly, and disproportionately, the region has been hit by the SARS-COV2 virus.

The rollout of the vaccination program across the country will be the first step in implementing the new norms required to cope with the global pandemic.

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