As Barbados received another batch of AstraZeneca vaccines in its “arsenal” to fight the virus, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has disclosed that just under 2,300 people were inoculated yesterday.
And, Ms. Mottley said with AstraZeneca being available again, people now had a choice of three vaccines, and they have acted by going to the vaccination centres to be immunised.
The Prime Minister made the comments this afternoon at the Grantley Adams International Airport, after receiving the third and final shipment of 33,600 vaccines under the COVAX Facility. She told those present that she had started discussions yesterday with unvaccinated frontline workers and she would meet with additional groups today.
She again urged Barbadians to keep their guard up, saying this was necessary to defeat the virus. She reminded the public, however, that along with being vaccinated, the wearing of masks, sanitising and physical distancing were necessary.
“Jeffrey [Bostic] mentioned the word fatigue, because as human beings we can get tired of things. But those who got tired of keeping their guard up in World War Two, regrettably became statistics, who we pay honour to at every Remembrance Day.
“Those who got tired of keeping their guard up in the Spanish Flu, regrettably, became statistics. I can only urge the people of this nation, as I urge the people of this region, and the people of the world…to accept what truly is our role in being able to fight this awful pandemic,” she stressed.
In thanking the various partners who assisted Barbados in receiving the 100,800 vaccines, which came in three tranches, Ms. Mottley said the only way to fight variants more virulent than the Delta, was to ensure that there was equitable access to vaccines as a matter of urgency, from Africa to Latin America to Asia to the Caribbean to every part of this globe.
She continued: “There will always be countries whether war torn or whether decimated by impoverishment and the absence of development that will always need our support…. I pray for that equitable approach to the delivery of vaccines to humankind, so that we can move beyond this moment and fight the other battles and other pandemics, whether among livestock or humans that lie in front of us.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister disclosed that she had asked Minister of Agriculture, Indar Weir, to address the country about the African Swine Flu, which had been identified in the Dominican Republic.
“The African Swine Flu is now in our region. On the 29th of July of this year, the Dominican Republic recorded its presence there. We all know what the swine flu has done, and how it has decimated pigs, from as big a country as China to some European countries to other countries across the world.
“It is going to mean that we have to take proactive measures, and this may mean nothing to you, but it does to me because we were at a similar moment in January of 2020. And when others were not prepared to listen and to watch and to plan, we took a decision, and I thank my Minister of Health, and all of the public officials of Barbados, for putting us in a position to be able to do early planning,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley thanked the representatives of the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Japan, the United States of America, the United Nations’ institutions, and PAHO and WHO for the assistance given to Barbados.