Belize is set to receive six point one million US dollars from The World Bank to finance its Covid-19 response strategy. Love News understands that the money will finance the acquisition of vaccines for young children as well as a publicity campaign to increase the vaccination rate. A part of the funding will also be used for health officials to access the remote villages to make the vaccinations accessible to rural residents and the indigenous communities. As it relates to the acquisition of vaccines for young children, Health Minister, Kevin Bernard explained that the ministry is currently working at getting them into the country.
Kevin Bernard, Minister of Health and Wellness: “There are serious discussions happening at this, as we speak and in fact over the few days with the CARICOM summit, I know that the Prime Minister alluded to that this morning that there is going to be discussion with Carafa from a CARICOM perspective in terms of the access, the accessibility to vaccines. We need to seriously look at getting those 5 to 11 year old vaccines. I know Dr. Baer and her team have been working arduously. Been in discussion with Carafa with Pfizer. We have been using bilateral discussion as well through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in trying to secure these vaccines. We have 58,500 vaccines we need to get, Pfizer vaccines that should be coming in pretty soon and out of that we would really want to get the first set for 5 – 11 and so it is in that area that we are discussing the accessibility. The concern was that we still have Pfizer in the country. Those will expire in May at the end of May. So we are saying let’s as much encourage our people, especially our 12-17 year olds at this point in time to get vaccinated. In some countries, they are using the same adult vaccine at lesser dosage but it is not recommended by the CDC and we are saying, we cannot do so. We have to follow the rule. We have to follow the guidelines and so we expect the paediatric vaccine for our younger generations and so we at the ministry are working very hard to try and get those secured and once we have that, we are going to bring those in to apply and we’re going to go into a very aggressive campaign using the schools as well to get our 5 to 11 year olds vaccinated.”
Other areas that the World Bank funding will assist in is a survey aimed at identifying the reasons some persons are hesitant to get vaccinated, as well as the digitization of the vaccination data.