Antigua’s PM asks US president to provide vaccines to CARICOM

Antigua and Barbuda PM Gaston Browne

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has written to US President Joseph Biden, requesting that CARICOM countries, including Dominica, be included in the provision of AstraZeneca vaccines to Canada and Mexico.

The White House said on Friday that the US will release four million doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccine to these two countries.

The plan would mark the first time the US has directly supplied vaccines to another country.

But Prime Minister Browne pointed out that the Caribbean is the third border of the United States, arguing that the safety of the US would be jeopardized if Canada and Mexico are not inoculated to achieve herd immunity.

Similarly, he says the US would remain at risk if CARICOM countries are neglected.

Browne explained to President Biden that the Caribbean region is among the worst affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Consequently, he says Caribbean economies have experienced shrinkage of up to 30 per cent; unemployment has risen to over 50 per cent in some cases; poverty has expanded everywhere “and our revenues have declined precipitously, forcing us to increase debt which we have had to incur at high rates of interest.”

Browne asserted that the vulnerability of states must become an important criterion in the provision of vaccines, and the Caribbean region is among the most vulnerable in the world.

Describing the economic impact of the pandemic as overwhelming, Browne said in his letter, that many Caribbean countries are in danger of collapsing from a massive economic sclerosis.

He says if these conditions are not addressed soon, small island states like Antigua and Barbuda face a crumbling of their security systems from which drug traffickers, money launderers, people traffickers, and organized crime will take advantage to the detriment of our countries and of the US.

Browne implored President Biden to take account of the Caribbean – the third border of the US – in his plan to make the US safer by contributing to the safety of its neighbours.

The Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister pointed out to the US President that some CARICOM countries have been able to inoculate a small percentage of their population because of the kindness of the Government of India that provided 500,000 doses of vaccine.

He said negotiations with vaccine producers are difficult because supply is limited, and prices are high.

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  1. Poly 2
    March 22, 2021

    I think Brown should be complimented on approaching the US for the vaccine rather than China. Brown has received some well deserved criticism in the past but this time I would posit that his approach to the US is commendable. China treatment of its minority Muslim population is deplorable and should be condemned.

  2. Carcon
    March 22, 2021

    Didn’t PAHO state a few days ago that they expect a delivery of 700,000 doses of vaccine. Why is this one asking for help from the US now?

  3. zandoli
    March 21, 2021

    The US did not give vaccines to Canada and Mexico. These were loans which must later be repaid with an equal number of vaccines.
    The generosity of India and the proximity of our nations are good selling point.
    But both the US and Canada have pledged to donate excess vaccines once their populations are fully vaccinated.
    Brown should also write to the Canadian government.

    • Toto
      March 22, 2021

      Zandoli, he obviously does not listen to our own President of Paho Dr. Etienne who has already said her she is organising vaccines for us. Cheeky Gaston Browne, don’t bully the US so. You have plenty of money from your passport sales and the security here is not in danger because of the US but the characters you selling them passports to.

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