St Vincent and the Grenadines has received 40,000 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine Covishield (Indian) AstraZeneca from the Government and people of India.
Speaking at a media conference yesterday (March 1st), Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves says he wrote the Prime Minister of India asking for 40,000 doses to inoculate at least one-fifth of the Vincentian population.
Gonsalves says the correspondence was sent through two channels and within 2-3 days he received a favourable response from the Prime Minister of India.
The Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines says his country requires 70 to 80 per cent of the population to take the vaccine to achieve population immunity.
SVG has a population of about 110,000 which means at least 77,000 people will need to take the vaccine.
Gonsalves says the vaccine is currently not being offered to persons below the age of 18 in SVG, which is around 30,000 people.
The prime minister notes that without going bilaterally with India for vaccines as well as the generosity of Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, St Vincent and the Grenadines would have no vaccines today. He says St Vincent and the Grenadines will give Grenada 5,000 vaccines.
The expiry date on the vaccines received from India is June 27, 2021.
The prime minister adds that St Vincent will also be seeking other avenues to secure more vaccines later this year.
Meanwhile, Minister of Health, Wellness and the Environment Hon St Clair Prince has praised India for the tremendous effort it has made to dent the vaccine nationalism which threatens to derail the equity needed during the pandemic.
The Health Minister says his ministry is ready to ramp up and hopes by the middle of next month, to vaccinate over 50,000 people.