Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic, (second right); Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best (right); Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the Argentine Republic in Barbados, Angel Dalmazzo (second left), and Director of the Barbados Drug Service, Maryam Hinds, stand next to the shipment of 30,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines donated by Argentina today. (GP)

Barbados received 30,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from Argentina.  The shipment arrived this morning at the Grantley Adams International Airport.

On hand to accept the donation were Minister of Health and Wellness, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic; Deputy Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Anton Best, and Director of the Drug Service, Maryam Hinds.

Charge d’Affaires, Embassy of the Argentine Republic in Barbados, Ángel Dalmazzo, who officially handed over the vaccines to Barbados, said: ”No country will be safe until all countries are safe and actively participate in the global system of reciprocity constituted by the donation of vaccines to reduce the contagion and the effects of the global pandemic of COVID-19. This collaboration is also a recognition of the historical friendship between Argentina and the Caribbean region and the support we permanently receive from our friends.”

The donation was coordinated by the Argentine White Helmets, a humanitarian institution with an active presence in the region.  Besides the 30,000 doses received by Barbados, donations of AstraZeneca vaccines have already been sent to Mozambique (450,000 doses), Vietnam (500,000 doses), Angola (350,000 doses), Grenada (11,000 doses), Saint Lucia (18,000 doses), Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (11,000 doses) and Dominica (2,000 doses).

Dr. Best said the Ministry of Health and Wellness was grateful for the donation of the vaccines, which, he said, would help boost the efforts of the National Vaccination Programme for COVID-19.

“We’re approaching the one-year mark for the vaccination programme. For the initial months of the programme accessing vaccines was difficult; we really relied on the goodwill of countries to assist small island developing states, like Barbados.

“Thankfully, we’re no longer there in terms of vaccine supply. There is still a lot of global inequity where vaccines are concerned and we are grateful to the more developed countries for providing vaccines to small countries like Barbados because our leverage is not the same as theirs.”

The Deputy Chief Medical Officer added that vaccines were safe and effective and a lot more data was now available to prove this than when the National Vaccination Programme first started. 

He pointed out that while there would continue to be persons who were vaccine hesitant, the fact remained that vaccines were key to helping Barbados and the rest of the world out of the current pandemic.

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