PR – International solidarity remains critical in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as the issue of accessibility to vaccines still needs to be addressed to ensure the protection of populations worldwide, including in the Eastern Caribbean region. In light of the health crisis, the Government of Argentina reaffirmed its support to OECS Member States by donating 42 thousand doses of AstraZeneca vaccines.
The shipment of vaccines arrived at Hewanorra International Airport in Vieux-Fort, Saint Lucia, on December 1st, 2021. The donation was received by Senior Technical Specialist at the OECS Pharmaceutical Procurement Service Abraham Weekes and immediately dispatched to four (4) beneficiary countries of the OECS.
Two (2) flights of the Regional Security System (RSS) were mobilized to facilitate the shipment of the doses of vaccines to Grenada, the Commonwealth of Dominica, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. A stock of vaccines was also handed over to the Ministry of Health of the Government of Saint Lucia.
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Argentina H.E. Santiago Cafiero stated:
“This collaboration is just a token of the historical friendship and positive relations between the Republic of Agentina and the Caribbean region. We share the same democratic values, and my government truly appreciates the support we permanently receive from our partners”
The Director of Caribbean Affairs at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Government of Argentina and former Ambassador of Argentina to the OECS and Barbados H.E. Gustavo M. Pandiani, who was instrumental in facilitating the donation, provided further details about the distribution of the doses of vaccines:
“Saint Lucia will receive 18.000 doses, Grenada 11.000 doses, the Commonwealth of Dominica doses 2.000, and Saint Vicent and the Grenadines 11.000 doses”
Ambassador H.E. Gustavo M. Pandiani also expressed deep recognition to the Director General of the OECS H.E Dr. Didacus Jules along with the Head of the Human and Social Cluster at the OECS Dr. Carlene Radix on the efforts made for the coordination of the donation.
Accepting the kind donation, Director General of the OECS Dr. Didacus Jules noted that:
“International cooperation is the key to end the COVID-19 pandemic. Hence, the OECS has been working closely with multiple governments and organisations since the early stages of the health crisis, towards the achievement of this objective. I want to express our deep appreciation to the government and people of the Republic of Argentina for this generous donation that will assit the OECS Member States in safeguarding the lives of their citizenery. Argentina has always been a reliable friend and partner.”
Further to the collaboration in the fight against the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Government of Argentina and the OECS have deepened cooperation in key development areas since the signing of a Bilateral Cooperation Agreement in 2013. Indeed, multiple technical cooperation projects have been implemented in agriculture, public health, and the environment in Saint Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, and the other OECS Member States.