Minister of Finance in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn (fourth from left) accepting the donation from BCCUL President, Hally Haynes (second right) and General Secretary, Susan Fitt, (third left). Looking on (l-r) are: Co-coordinator of the National Vaccination Programme, Major David Clarke; BCCUL General Manager, Anthony Pilgrim; and Co-coordinator of the National Vaccination Programme Dr. Elizabeth Ferdinand. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Government’s vaccine fund received a much needed cash injection with a donation from the Barbados Cooperative Credit Union League (BCCUL) to purchase COVID-19 vaccines for Barbadians.

Minister in Finance in the Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment, Ryan Straughn accepted the cheque for $89 000 during a handing over ceremony at the Masonic Lodge, Salters, St. George.

The Minister thanked members of the BCCUL for stepping up to help government in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Pointing out that the movement was founded on cooperation, Mr. Straughn said that the gesture exemplified the spirit on which the national response to the pandemic was undertaken.

The Minister said the national vaccine fund which was launched earlier this year, was set up to ensure that all Barbadians were vaccinated when vaccines were available.

“We are still awaiting vaccines to arrive which has been perhaps, the most critical factor in us being able to vaccinate as many Barbadians as possible. The mission is not over and it is our intention to ensure that every Barbadian or every citizen… anyone who is resident in Barbados, irrespective of their immigration status can be vaccinated.

“Maintaining public health is important to ensure the safety of all of our families and it allows us to keep the economy open safely and allaying some of the real fears people are facing as a result of the impact of the coronavirus on the economy of Barbados,” Mr. Straughn underlined.

President of the BCCUL, Hally Haynes, said the credit union movement was pleased to present the donation to assist government in the national strategic effort to achieve herd immunity and promote economic stability during the pandemic.

He commended Government and the various teams in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, complemented by assistance from the private sector, for their valiant efforts to stave off the worst effects of the COVID-19 on the population.

Emphasising that the efforts are paying off, he said that the latest data showed that close to $100 000 people had “come forward to be vaccinated with approximately 74 000 people fully vaccinated as at July 20”.

Mr. Haynes appealed to more Barbadians, especially those under the age of 35, to take the jab to protect themselves and their loved ones.

“Admittedly, there is much more work to be done to convince more Barbadians, particularly those in the under 35 age group, to take the vaccine.”

He continued: “Vaccines also bring us closer to herd immunity which greatly reduces the chance of new, more deadlier variants developing in our population. We in the Credit Union movement, in Barbados, recognise that the tentacles of this pandemic have not remained in the health sector. The Coronavirus has disrupted our economy and undermined every attempt at jumpstarting economic growth.”

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