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Mar 31, 2021

Belize Receives Vaccines from COVAX Facility

The country is now in phase two of the rollout of COVID-19 vaccines. So as people sixty and older as well as those suffering from certain non-communicable diseases, teachers, police and parliamentarians are coming forward to get their jabs, there is an increase demand.  Today was a historic day as the country received its first set of COVID-19 vaccine from the COVAX Facility. News Five was there for its arrival and reporter Duane Moody files this report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

On the tarmac at the Philip Goldson International Airport, government officials along with partner agencies PAHO and UNICEF received Belize’s first batch of AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX Facility as the country continues its fight against the deadly COVID-19 pandemic. The arrival of the vaccine strengthens the country’s national response and health system.


Allison Parker

Allison Parker, Country Representative, UNICEF Belize

“Today is a momentous occasion for us. A moment when we demonstrate the power of partnership in making a difference for the most vulnerable and those who are left behind.”


The acquisition of the vaccine from the COVAX Facility was facilitated through the PAHO Revolving Fund.


Noreen Jack

Dr. Noreen Jack, Country Representative, PAHO/WHO Belize

“It is recognized as the procurement agent for the COVAX Facility in Latin America and the Caribbean. It negotiates purchases and handles the shipment logistics on behalf of the thirty-six countries participating in the region of the Americas. As of today and I think this shipment here to Belize, two point five million doses of the COVID vaccine have been delivered from the COVAX facility from the PAHO Revolving Fund.”


Phases one and two of the COVID vaccination programme remains open as a wide range of persons from various sectors, including vulnerable populations such as the elderly and frontline healthcare workers continue to get vaccinated.


Michel Chebat, Minister of Health & Wellness

“We got in thirty-three thousand six hundred doses of the COVAX Facility; this will help us to vaccinate with the first dose additional persons and we’ll also have a second dose for those persons who have already been vaccinated.”


Duane Moody

“The campaign to get more persons to get out there and get vaccinated because we know that there has been some resistance from teachers from healthcare workers – getting them to realise that you need to come out, it helps with that additional protection that you need.”


Michel Chebat

Michel Chebat

“It does and we want to encourage everybody come out. We cannot say enough how this vaccine is to save your life. It will help you so that in the event that you do contract the COVID-19, you won’t have severe symptoms and so we are encouraging everybody to come out. We’ve had about thirty-six percent of our teachers come out so far and about eighty percent of our healthcare workers and we keep on pushing.  We are encouraging everybody to attend the nearest health facility to get vaccinated.”


The next shipment of sixty-six thousand two hundred doses will arrive in country before June of this year. The Minister of Health and Wellness confirmed that Belize will receive a total of two hundred and thirty-eight thousand eight hundred doses of vaccine through the COVAX Facility, but it is not enough to achieve herd immunity, as recommended by PAHO.


Michel Chebat

“We are exploring other venues. We are talking to the African platform and we are hoping that through them, we will be able to get Johnson and Johnson. We are also in communication with the Ministers of Health of the Caribbean and through CARICOM we are trying to also get additional AstraZeneca vaccines to cover what we are now missing.”


Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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