Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley’s address to the nation – February 25, 2021. (PMO)

A National Vaccine Fund will be launched “very shortly” to secure the next batch of COVID-19 vaccines, says Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

While the first 100,000 doses were a gift from the Government of India, Ms. Mottley said the next shipment would come at cost, though she did not go into details. 

She pointed out that because the first set of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccines was free, it would have been unethical to charge persons to be vaccinated.

Referencing Barbados’ commitment to providing free tertiary education “to the most vulnerable and weakest among us”, the Prime Minister said that similarly, Government would not be charging persons for the next round of vaccines it intends to purchase.

“We are not going to change who we are, because as you’ve heard me say over and over, principles only mean something when it is inconvenient to stand by them,” she underscored.

However, she noted that Government would be appealing to people at the individual and corporate levels to help ease the “stress” that it was under, by contributing to the fund when it is established.

Stating that nothing comes easy, Ms. Mottley cited the challenges she has faced in her own life both personally and politically, but pointed out that she had stayed the course to overcome them.  

She also asked Barbadians to do the same. “It can only happen if the majority of us are prepared to work together. I know this country; I know you because I am from you; I am of you. And I know that we have what it takes to rise above this moment in time. I ask you, therefore, let us as people who have the honour and privilege of living on this blessed rock to do the right thing to each other, for each other, with each other and stay the course. Let us battle this pandemic as I know we can and shall,” Prime Minister Mottley emphasised.

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