U.S. will provide further $1.5M in COVID-19 vaccine assistance to Caribbean countries

U.S. will provide further $1.5M in COVID-19 vaccine assistance to Caribbean countries

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The United States Government has announced plans to provide $1.5 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for countries in the Caribbean, including The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

This assistance will help countries conduct vaccination campaigns, overcome vaccine hesitancy, and increase vaccination rates. It will also help governments launch engagement activities, train healthcare workers, and combat misinformation.

While the rate of new cases in The Bahamas has declined significantly, the global COVID-19 pandemic is not over, and fewer than half of all Bahamians are vaccinated.

USAID will direct funding through organizations such as local Ministries of Health, NGOs, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF, and USAID’s Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) project.

Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts of the U.S. Embassy in The Bahamas said: “Now that new cases are declining, our challenge lays with ensuring the country is prepared to battle the next wave of COVID, whenever or however it appears. The ongoing problem of vaccine hesitancy is a major obstacle to these preparations, so the timing of this assistance is key. I hope to see as many people get vaccinated against COVID-19 as possible, so we can prevent future strains of the virus from sweeping the country.”

USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, Clinton D. White, added: “The funding will fill key gaps to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine uptake, and strengthen countries’ preparedness for future pandemic threats. The United States Government remains firmly committed to assisting the government and people of The Bahamas in the fight against COVID-19.”

This additional assistance builds on the nearly $63 million in COVID-19 funding already provided by USAID to the Caribbean to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes $750,000 in funding to The Bahamas alone.

USAID’s previous COVID-19 assistance to The Bahamas led to the installation of 300 sanitizer units in classrooms and senior citizen care facilities, and 18 handheld radios for emergency medical services. In addition, USAID funding was used to procure state-of-the-art diagnostic equipment and industrial-grade laundry equipment for Princess Margaret Hospital.