The largest mass vaccination effort is expected to begin by month-end in Dominica and some doses will be shared with neighbouring nations, said Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit Tuesday as he thanked India for its quick response.
Speaking in a live broadcast, after receiving 70,000 doses of the Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine by way of a flight from Barbados, Skerrit said he was thankful for the considerations made to his country by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi, considering how small his island’s population is, compared to other nations with considerably more influence.
Skerrit told Dominicans: “Being the leader of a small Caribbean island, with a population of 72,000 people, I did not fancy chances of getting such a swift, positive response, to my request of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi. One would have thought, that in a global pandemic such as this, that nation’s size and might would have been the primary considerations. It is to the credit of Prime Minister Modi, that our request was considered on merit, and the equality of our people was recognized.”
Skerrit vowed that in under three weeks’ time, the mass vaccination programme will begin for Dominicans.
The Dominican leader said: “The highly hailed, Oxford AstraZeneca vaccine, that we have taken possession of this evening, ensures that Dominica will launch the largest vaccination campaign in modern history in our country. I am pleased to announce that the vaccine tonight will be placed in the custody of central medical stores, and from tomorrow, we will proceed to advance our public awareness campaign to include the registration of persons interested in receiving vaccines.
“I have been advised by the Ministry of Health that we will start the vaccination exercise on February 22nd 2021.”
Just as in other territories, frontline workers and those who are in at-risk categories will be the first to receive doses, as well as cabinet members, said Skerrit.
He also revealed that the other Eastern Caribbean states are to benefit from the doses Roseau has received from the Indian government.
“Just to say to my dear brothers and sisters in Dominica, that in the spirit of our usual togetherness and brotherly love, Dominica will be sharing with a couple member states of the OECS (Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States) from this gift that which we received from India,” Skerrit said. “So arrangements will be made, to have some of the vaccines airlifted, as early as Thursday to some of our brothers, so that their frontline workers can be vaccinated in our effort to stamp out this deadly virus.” (SB)