Sunday, June 23, 2024

First batch of COVID-19 vaccines soon to be delivered to Belize


The Minister of Health and Wellness (MOHW), the Honourable Michel Chebat, updated the nation on Friday, February 5th, when Belize will be receiving the COVID-19 vaccines. Over 100,000 AztraZeneca vaccines will be made available through the COVAX facility by the end of this year’s first quarter. Chebat also confirmed that the government had accepted a donation of 20,000 doses of the Sputnik V vaccine from the Russian Federal Republic.

The announcement was made at the Sitting of the House of Representatives in the Capital City of Belmopan. The first batch of doses through COVAX, a coalition from the World Health Organization and Gavi, is expected to cover 30% of the Belizean population targeting front liners, personnel from the hospitality/tourism industry, the elderly, and people with risk factors. Chebat explained that the initial amount of just over 100,000 is based on the manufacturer’s estimated availability of vaccines. The acquisition of these doses is made possible with the assistance of the InterAmerican Bank. The vaccination is expected to continue through the second quarter of this year.

Additional vaccines through the Caribbean Community (CARICOM)

The CARICOM Secretariat has advised Belize of the opportunity to obtain 81,697 doses of vaccine through the African Medical Supply platform. This opportunity is available to the CARICOM Member States of which Belize is a member. “We have expressed our interest to CARICOM through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs,” said Chebat. He also acknowledged Panama’s Ambassador to Belize, Her Excellency Marta Boza, for helping his ministry with linkages to the Russian vaccine.

The head of MOHW added that they would continue to source vaccines from manufactures and companies that can deliver safe and effective vaccines promptly. In anticipation of vaccine delivery, the MOHW, in collaboration with the Attorney General Ministry, is revising the Public Health Act to make the necessary amendments to facilitate the importation and use of the vaccine in Belize as COVAX requires countries to ensure they are ready to use the vaccines upon delivery.

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