The handing over ceremony was held on Tuesday, April 6, 2021 in the Conference Room of the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital and was chaired by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, Mrs Letitia Lestrade-Wyke. Remarks were presented by Chief Medical Officer, Dr David Johnson; PAHO Country Program Specialist, Anneke Wilson; and Minister of Health, Wellness and New Health Investment, Hon Dr Irving McIntyre.
COVAX is a joint effort between the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Vaccine Alliance Gavi, UNICEF, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and the World Health Organization (WHO).
COVAX seeks to provide vaccines for at least 20% of the population of each participating country during 2021. In this first round of vaccine allocation, all COVAX participating countries will receive doses to vaccinate between 2.2 and 2.6% of their population. The only exceptions are Small Island Developing States, which will receive vaccines to cover between 16 and 20% of their population, due to the high logistical cost of delivering small quantities of vaccines.
In total, fifteen Caribbean countries are expected to receive just over 2.1 million doses of COVAX vaccines by May. These 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, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago. Six of these countries (Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, St. Lucia, and St. Vincent & the Grenadines) will receive the vaccines free of charge.