Dominican Republic receives the first batch of COVID-19 vaccines through the COVAX Mechanism
The 91,200 doses received on Tuesday will be used to complete the immunization cycle of health personnel, already vaccinated with their first dose with AstraZeneca.
SANTO DOMINGO, DOMINICAN REPUBLIC - Dominican Republic received 91,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccine through the COVAX Mechanism, corresponding to AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, manufactured by SK Bioscience of South Korea.
The vaccines sent to the country through the Revolving Fund of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and in charge of the acquisition of COVID-19 vaccines for countries of the Americas through the COVAX Mechanism, correspond to the first batch of a total of 2,169,600 vaccine doses the country expects to receive through this global mechanism with its own financing.
The shipment was received by the Minister of Public Health, Dr. Daniel Rivera; PAHO/WHO representative in the country, Dr. Olivier Ronveaux, and UNICEF resident representative in the country, Dr. Rosa Elcarte.
The Minister expressed that “the important thing for us is that most of the personnel working in health centers were vaccinated with AstraZeneca, already have the availability of vaccines so that, between eight to twelve weeks, they can receive their second dose, thus we are within the margin, leading to peace of mind for those people who were a little nervous, and wanted to get SINOVAC, and we tell them no. We recommend that those who got vaccinated with AstraZeneca should get the second dose of this same vaccine".
Dr. Ronveaux asserted that the arrival of these vaccines represents a valuable contribution to the national vaccination plan started on February 16 in the country and acknowledged the great effort and work that Dominican authorities have been carrying out in its implementation. “As an organization, we reiterate our commitment to continue accompanying the country response to this health emergency and safeguarding the health of all those living in its territory,” said the representative.
While UNICEF representative, Dr. Elcarte emphasized, “this organization is supporting distribution of the COVAX mechanism vaccines in many countries in various regions of the world, and in the Dominican Republic we have offered to collaborate with PAHO and the Dominican Government in whatever is necessary to continue with the successful vaccination campaign being carried out in the country”.
Dr. Elcarte, also, remarked “all this is thanks to the spirit of solidarity of universal health coverage in order to achieve collective immunity; it is important to leave no one behind without vaccination.”
“UNICEF is supporting distribution of the COVAX mechanism vaccines in many countries in various regions of the world, and in the Dominican Republic we have offered collaboration to PAHO, and to the Dominican Government in whatever is necessary to continue with the successful vaccination campaign that is being carried out in the country.”
The COVAX mechanism is a global effort whose main objective is to guarantee equitable worldwide distribution of vaccines against COVID-19. To date, 70 countries and territories have received 32 million doses through this mechanism, whose goal is to protect 20 per cent of the global population by 2021.
In addition to this first delivery of vaccines through the COVAX mechanism, PAHO/WHO representation in the country has been working with the Ministry of Public Health (MOH) in local preparation for introduction of vaccines against COVID-19 and technical assistance for inclusion of the Dominican Republic in the COVAX mechanism. In addition, during 2020, PAHO/WHO worked with the country to maintain routine immunization services in the pandemic context through technical collaboration and donation of infection prevention supplies for health personnel.
Along the same lines, UNICEF continues to collaborate with the country’s health sector, supporting reduction of maternal and neonatal mortality, reduction of malnutrition, and access of pregnant women with HIV to diagnostic tests and treatment. Last year (2020) it delivered more than 10 tons of protective equipment for front-line healthcare personnel and 25 non-invasive respirators for patients with respiratory distress, as well as technical support in protocols design.
The introduction of the COVID-19 vaccines is a tool that complements other public health measures such as physical distancing, constant hand washing and respiratory etiquette monitoring, to help control this pandemic that to date has claimed the lives of more than two million people around the world.
The COVAX mechanism is an unprecedented global effort to ensure that any vaccine that is safe and effective reaches every country in the world with equitable access as quickly as possible to reduce the impact of the pandemic on people’s lives and economies. The goal in 2021 is to provide vaccines for at least 20 per cent of the population of the countries that are part of this pooled fund, which, in this first stage, will receive the doses needed to vaccinate between 2.2 and 2.6 per cent of their population. COVAX, the vaccine pillar of the COVID-19 Access to Tools Accelerator (ATA), is co-led by the Coalition for Promoting Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (Gavi), and the World Health Organization (WHO), working in partnership with UNICEF, as well as civil society organizations, vaccine manufacturers, the World Bank and others. More information: https://www.gavi.org/covax-facility
UNICEF works in some of the world's toughest places, to reach the world's most disadvantaged children. Across more than 190 countries and territories, we work for every child, everywhere, to build a better world for everyone.
For more information about UNICEF and its work for children, visit www.unicef.org/lac.