US to donate covid19 vaccines to Latin America, Caribbean

US President Joseph Biden.
US President Joseph Biden.

US President Joe Biden has outlined the distribution process for the country's upcoming global covid19 vaccination donation and six million doses of those are set to be delivered to countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

He announced this on the US government's website on Thursday afternoon.

Shortly after, deputy press secretary for vice president Kamala Harris tweeted that the VP had, in separate calls on Thursday, spoke with several prime ministers, including Dr Rowley, notifying each leader that the US administration would begin share the first 26 million does of vaccines to their countries.

Rowley, on his Facebook page, also spoke of the telephone conference call with Harris.

"This is the very latest in a series of high-level contacts which the chairman of Caricom, Prime Minister Rowley, has been having with high-level officials of the US administration in recent weeks."

And on Monday, US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said an announcement will be made “sometime in the next week to two weeks.”

In March, Minister of Foreign and Caricom Affairs Dr Amery Browne said diplomatic sources at the US State Department said it was “considering the matter of vaccine access for the Caribbean.”

And in May, the Prime Minister directly contacted Biden to ask for vaccines after he announced he intended to distribute 80 million vaccines overseas.

At a news conference at the White House, Biden said the donation would include 20 million Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines that would be added to a previously-announced donation of 60 million AstraZeneca vaccines.

Last week, when asked for an update on this, Browne told Newsday, “We are fully utilising our diplomatic channels to follow all possibilities, in the best interest of all the people of TT.”

He said many meetings had been happening.

In Biden's official statement, he said, "As the US continues our efforts to get every eligible American vaccinated and fight covid19 here at home, we also recognise that ending this pandemic means ending it everywhere...And the US is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home.

"Today, we’re providing more detail on how we will allocate the first 25 million of those vaccines to lay the ground for increased global coverage and to address real and potential surges, high burdens of disease, and the needs of the most vulnerable countries."

He said "at least 75 per cent" of these doses will be shared through Covax, "including approximately six million doses for Latin America and the Caribbean, approximately 7 million for South and Southeast Asia, and approximately five million for Africa, working in co-ordination with the African Union and the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

"The remaining doses, just over six million, will be shared directly with countries experiencing surges, those in crisis, and other partners and neighbors, including Canada, Mexico, India, and the Republic of Korea."

He said strong "American leadership" is crucial in ending the pandemic.

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