Caribbean: Indian government break step leads to a big problem for the Caribbean countries, which got more than 400,000 vaccines as a gift from the government and people of India.
Most countries, including St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, Grenada, Bahamas, Barbados and Antigua and Barbuda, vaccinated fewer people.
Data of total vaccination to major Caribbean countries :
Barbados has administered at least 62,765 doses of COVID vaccines so far. The vaccine is given in 2 doses to achieve herd immunity, resulting in sufficient vaccines to inoculate 10.9% of the entire population.
Bahamas has administered at least 110 doses of COVID vaccines so far, which’s less than 0.1% of the country’s population.
St Kitts and Nevis vaccinated 8,291 people so far, 7.4% of the country’s population.
Antigua and Barbuda have administered at least 25,677 doses of COVID vaccines so far. The vaccine is given in 2 doses to achieve herd immunity, resulting in sufficient vaccines to inoculate 13.2% of the entire population.
Saint Lucia has administered at least 20,247 doses of COVID vaccines so far; country vaccinated about 5.5% of its population.
Grenada has administered at least 8,606 doses of COVID vaccines so far; The vaccine is given in two doses to achieve herd immunity, resulting in sufficient vaccines to inoculate 3.8% of the entire population.
In this number game, not even a single Caribbean country has vaccinated atleast more than 50 % of their people.
In the ground research of the Associates Times, it has been founded that earlier due to various factors like vaccine fear & uncertainty about its effects. Many people were indecisive about getting to vaccinate themselves.
But these trends changed after some time when some state head came ahead to set an example, but now a shortage of vaccines is one of the major problems in the Caribbean region.
India’s Role :
On 27 March 2021, India witnessed 62,258 cases in one day; this surge is horrifying for the world’s largest vaccine manufacturing country in the world.
The surge in COVID-19 infections has led the Indian government to put the brakes on its major diplomatic initiative ‘Vaccine Maitri’.
In his parliament remark, External Minister of India Dr Jai Shankar, stated that India, under this initiative of ‘Vaccine Maitri’ India donated more than 58 million doses to around 72 countries globally.
India’s a major source of vaccines for the Caribbean :
On February 9, 2021, India sent the first shipment of around 170,000 AstraZeneca vaccine to the Commonwealth of Dominica and Barbados.
Dominica got 70,000 jabs and Barbados 100,000 jabs, respectively.
On February 27, 2021, India dispatched 175,000 Oxford Astra-Zeneca vaccine doses to 5 Caribbean countries, including four under the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
Apart from this, Jamaica received 50,000 doses of vaccines from India, but these numbers don’t fully fill these countries’ demand.
Does COVAX is a hope?
On 15th March 2021, Jamaica became the first country to received 14,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Facility.
This is a global effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
The 15 Caribbean countries are expected to get over 2.1 million doses of vaccines through this COVAX facility vaccines by May include Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, the Dominican Republic, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Surinam, and Trinidad & Tobago. 6 of these countries (Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines) will receive the vaccines free of charge.
But another factor about this, percentage of its time uncertainty is so high.
So there are several questions in the mind of people and health experts, including What about those who got a single dose and, due to shortage of vaccines, unable to take a second dose.
Notably, as per the World Health Organisation, it is affirmed that a single dose is not sufficient to combat the virus.
Covax facility co-leader Gavi stated that India is holding up export licences for Covid-19 vaccines destined for poor countries due to increased domestic demand as its own cases rise.
SII has pledged that, alongside supplying India, it will prioritise the Covax multilateral solution for equitable distribution. Covax is in talks with the govt. of India to ensure deliveries as quickly as possible.” Gavi spokesman noted.
SII is manufacturing vaccines for 64 lower-income countries via Covax, and for India’s domestic vaccination campaign.
WHO Head remark
WHO chief Tedros said countries should work together to ensure COVID-19 vaccinations begin everywhere across the world within the first 100 days of 2021
“There are now only 15 days left before the 100th day of the year, and 36 nations that are still waiting for coronavirus vaccines so that they can start vaccinating health workers and older people. Of those, 16 are scheduled to get their 1st doses from COVAX within the next 15 days. That leaves 20 nations who are ready to go & waiting for vaccines. COVAX is ready to deliver, but we can’t give vaccines we don’t have,”, said Tedros.
What to do then?
Heads of Caribbean countries should take some vital step in order to get the vaccine from different sources and secure approachability of vaccines to the Caribbean people.
Organisations like OECS, CARICOM should take diplomatic steps to acquire vaccines diplomatically from manufacturing countries.