Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit says his government is confident that the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available to Dominica by the end of March this year.
He made the announcement following a virtual CARICOM Heads of Government meeting which took place on Tuesday.
According to Skerrit, his government has been working with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) to source vaccines for Dominica.
“We are confident that we will be able to get the vaccine based on the schedule that has been advised by PAHO, from the end of March 2021,” he said.
He said the other issue discussed regarding access to the vaccine is educating the population about the need to be vaccinated, “because we recognize that there are a lot of discussions on vaccines and not taking them and who should take them, why we should not take them and why we should take them.”
Prime Minister Skerrit mentioned that the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) has agreed to develop some public education programmes to educate the population on the benefits of the vaccine, “because that is important.”
“The reality is, every week that passes by, different countries are now requiring for our citizens to have a negative PCR to come to their countries,” he stated. “Very soon when these bigger countries would have recognized that their citizens would be largely vaccinated then they are going to demand that you get vaccinated to come to their countries….”
He said he hopes that citizens in Dominica can recognize the importance of the vaccine.
According to the prime minister, the economic situation confronting the Caribbean was also discussed at the CARICOM Heads meeting.
“There is a huge financing gap of about 4 billion US dollars among CARICOM nations; this is a significant gap and we have been talking about the mobilization of resources to help countries fill that gap,” he remarked.
He said the mobilization of resources will continue to be a need as it is not known how long the virus situation will continue with lockdowns and restrictions.
“There are also some structural adjustments we ourselves as governments will have to make as well, because you are going to see an increase in debt, even if you don’t borrow, you will still see an increase in debt,” the Prime Minister added.