Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn (second from left), receives a cheque for $20,000 from CEO of Co-operators General Insurance, Anton Lovell (centre). Looking on ( l-r) are: Co-coordinator of the COVID-19 National Vaccination Programme, Major David Clarke; Co-operators General Insurance Chairman, Kelvin Whittaker; and Treasurer, Patrick McDonald. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

As the National Vaccination Fund received an injection of $20,000, Minister in the Ministry of Finance, Ryan Straughn, is urging Barbadians to get vaccinated.

Mr. Straughn was speaking today after Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Co-operators General Insurance, Anton Lovell, made the donation at the BIDC Building No. 2 Harbour Industrial Park, St. Michael.

The Minister continued: “I urge Barbadians to continue to get vaccinated and to do so quickly…. Once this particular programme has reached its objectives, in terms of being able to achieve a level of herd immunity in the country, then it means that we can roll back a little bit and let normalcy resume….

“The sooner we can get persons vaccinated, whether adults or children, then it means that we can get [face-to-face] school started back…. The response to the pandemic obviously is evolving and vaccines play a critical role in helping us to evolve quickly with respect to being able to bring back some sense of normalcy.”

He disclosed that so far the National Vaccination Fund had collected $10.9 million, and $7.4 million of the sum had already been transferred to the Treasury.

Mr. Straughn said Government launched the mobile vaccination initiative in an effort to get into communities so as to give more people an opportunity to get vaccinated.

He stated: “The numbers are rising and more persons are reaching out to me and the other MPs to find out where the pop up sites are…, so there’s that level of interest which we anticipate will continue….

“We will expend whatever is required to get Barbadians vaccinated, to make sure we can provide a safe space, not just for Barbadians but those who…live in Barbados, to be able to…work, enjoy themselves and get back to some level of normalcy.”

Government, the Minister stressed, was committed to managing its very scarce resources, and added that a distinct policy decision had been made to mount a strong policy response to managing the public health pandemic.

He thanked Co-operators General Insurance for the donation and the media for sharing the message to get vaccinated.

Mr. Lovell said Co-operators General Insurance was pleased to provide a contribution to the Fund and encouraged other companies to support the effort.

“This country is in perilous times under the strain of this COVID-19 … and as a responsible corporate citizen, Co-operators General is not a company which sits on the fence. 

“As you know Minister, Co-operators General is owned by the local credit union movement, in other words, owned by Barbadians.  So naturally with this donation, we are supporting our own, as we strongly believe that the more persons receiving vaccinations, the better off the country will be in its fight against the COVID-19 …,” he stated.

The CEO commended Government and all health officials, particularly those at the Harrison Point Isolation Centre in St. Lucy, for their efforts to effectively manage the pandemic.

Those attending the presentation included Chairman of Co-operators General Insurance, Kelvin Whittaker; Treasurer, Patrick McDonald; Manager of Marketing and Human Resources, Cheryl Forde, and Co-coordinator of the National Vaccination Programme for COVID-19, Major David Clarke.  

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