Antigua Putting Aside Funds To Purchase COVID Vaccines

(CMC) — The Antigua and Barbuda government says it has set aside more than US$2 million to purchase vaccines to combat the coronavirus (COVID-19) whenever they become available.

A statement issued after the weekly Cabinet meeting notes that the Gaston Browne administration is hoping that the vaccines could likely become available before January next year.

“A procurement system, to be put in place by a regional health organisation, is likely to require payment for the new vaccine in advance. Antigua and Barbuda is readying itself to provide the new drug to its population when it becomes available.

“The Cabinet reminds everyone that our good health as a nation has been dependent upon early childhood vaccination against a number of diseases that caused high infant mortality. This new disease is likely to be defeated by vaccination also, making the world safe once more for travel and business, employment and leisure,” the statement said.

Health Minister Molwyn Joseph told cabinet that there are two active cases being treated here and if “no additional cases are imported, the minister expressed the view that the disease would have been eliminated in Antigua and Barbuda, causing the state to be declared COVID-19 free”.

But the statement quoted Joseph as cautioning that there is to be no relaxation of the vigilance that has brought the island to this juncture and is urging the population to continue to wear masks, to practice safe hygiene, and to continue to wash hands frequently.

“He reminds that it takes only one infected person, coming into contact with even four persons can cause domestic spread, which can lead to community spread. All are asked to conform to the regulation,” the Cabinet statement noted.