Press briefing with acting Prime Minister, Santia Bradshaw at Ilaro Court – September 22, 2021. (PMO)

Acting Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw is insisting that intervening companies or “middlemen” working on behalf of governments cannot purchase or receive vaccines.

She made this point today as she addressed a live press conference at Ilaro Court, where the issue surrounding the procurement of vaccines for Barbados and other matters were discussed.

In explaining the two-step process, Ms. Bradshaw disclosed that there were certain rules that governed the purchase of vaccines from international manufacturers, and this could only be done if the recipient government, with whom discussions are taking place with the intermediary persons, approve the purchase.

Following those discussions, she said arrangements are put in place for the vaccines to be delivered directly to the relevant authorities in the country under the auspices of that country’s Ministry of Health, or in the case of Barbados, the Ministry of Health and Wellness.

“In other words, vaccines do not go directly to any, private party, they come directly from the manufacturers to the Ministry of Health and Wellness. Following its due diligence assessments and in keeping with its commitment to ensuring the procurement of genuine doses of the vaccines from a legitimate manufacturer and through a credible entity, the Government of Barbados agreed to, and approved of this exclusively private-sector led and funded initiative, to source the doses of the vaccines for the citizens of Barbados.”

The Acting Prime Minister continued: “Yes, we agreed to facilitate one million vaccines because for those who don’t understand the process they would realise that it is not just something that you can say I want 50, I want 100 I want 2,000. The way the market is working, you have to purchase a minimum of about a million vaccines.”

Ms. Bradshaw recalled that earlier this year as Barbados and other countries in the region struggled to procure vaccines to inoculate citizens against COVID-19, several offers were made to Government by private entities, companies and individuals to “assist in whatever way they could to source vaccines for Barbadians”.

“Back then, we were in a position where the rest of the world and Barbados were trying frantically to get these much needed vaccines into the populations across the world. I think it is fair to say that Barbados, and certainly your Government, did not sit on its laurels and wait for vaccines to come, but rather, what we had to do, is reach out to not only these companies and individuals. We had to be aggressive and reach out to get these vaccines on the island,” she stated.

The Acting Prime Minister gave the assurance that taxpayers dollars were not lost in the sourcing of vaccines and reiterated Government’s commitment to sourcing approved vaccines from legitimate sources, while ensuring Barbadians’ access to the best quality healthcare, in a timely manner.

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