Engaging countries “will have equitable access to future COVID-19 vaccine, including 15 countries and territories in the Caribbean. Seven are self-financing and six are COVAX eligible.
PAHO's Assistant Director, Dr Jarbas Barbosa
(CMR) Several Caribbean countries including the Cayman Islands and Jamaica will be receiving European Union funds via the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) to help pay for a COVID-19 vaccine once it becomes available.
It was confirmed on Friday that the Trinidad based CARPHA had received some US$2 million as a down payment so that the regional countries can gain access to a safe and effective coronavirus vaccine once it becomes available through the Vaccines Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility).
In turn, CARPHA has transferred a portion of that to the Pan-American Health Organization which has allotted US$81,840 for the Cayman Islands.
The facility provides an opportunity for the World Health Organization (WHO) member states to benefit from a portfolio of vaccine candidates using a range of technology platforms produced by manufacturers across the world.
Countries participating in the COVAX Facility will have access to doses of vaccine as a result of the advance purchase commitments made by the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI). As doses become available, they will be allocated to all participating member states in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed.
CARPHA executive director, Dr. Joy St John, told a virtual news conference that the vaccine will be developed “after the safe and thorough clinical trials of the COVAX Facility.”
She said CARPHA had been able to do this through a cooperation agreement with the European Union and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO).
“CARPHA has an agreement with the European Union which allows for a pot of money to be given for use of purchase of vaccines and treatments and we were very happy when we learnt of the ways in which the COVAX Facility was being facilitated by PAHO for the Region of the Americas of which Caricom (Caribbean Community) is a sub-region.”
She said after much “discussions and consideration and the involvement and agreement of the member states, we have come to this point where we have been able to transfer money…to PAHO for onward transmission to GAVI for use as the down payment.
He said more than 150 countries are participating in the initiative that was launched in June.
PAHO's Assistant Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa, said countries should be prepared for participating in the initiative in order to benefit quickly.
He said there are 10 vaccines now undergoing trials and that for the countries in the Americas, 10 are considered self-financing, 10 will receive support through COVAX and others will also receive some form of support.