PM Harris Calls For Greater Response To Global COVID-19 Vaccine Shortage

Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis
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(St. Kitts and Nevis Information Service): Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Timothy Harris, has called for a greater response from fellow world leaders and stakeholders to the global Covid-19 vaccine shortage. The prime minister’s remarks were made during a presentation at the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council Meeting on May 12, 2021.

“The approved vaccines are not available through COVAX and they are not available for purchase at prices we can afford. This is not right, that in a world where millions of doses of vaccine lie untouched in warehouses of some countries, so many of us around the world, including my CARICOM region, just cannot get enough vaccines to reach herd immunity from this terrible disease,” said Prime Minister Harris.

Prime Minister Harris attended the meeting as the CARICOM Head with responsibility for Health to shed light on glaring global inequalities in relation to the distribution of Covid-19 vaccines, particularly the Oxford-AstraZeneca. The prime minister also commended the job done by the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis to protect citizens and residents while maintaining economic sustainability during the ongoing pandemic.

“We have done everything we could to find the right balance between lives and livelihoods. We have a protocol for every sector-Tourism, Education, Services Industries, and Security,” he said.  

Other issues that were highlighted by Prime Minister Harris during his address to the ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council Meeting included the rearrangement of allocation to countries and redistribution of excess vaccines and vaccines for children.

“This is my SHORT-TERM solution: the reallocation of excess vaccines to countries needing them…The children are suffering from this disease. The cases of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C) are alarmingly high in CARICOM as we have been tracking this across our countries,” he said.

The ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council Meeting is geared towards bringing multilateral stakeholders together in an effort to identify barriers and strategies for increasing uptake and use of Covid-19 tools at the country level and to guide the COVAX Task Force on strategies to expand Covid-19 vaccine production.

The ACT-Accelerator Facilitation Council Meeting was also attended by Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws and facilitated by Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General of the World Health Organization.

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