BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, August 12, 2021 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis has received its first tranche of 11,700 doses of the World Health Organization-approved Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine from the Government of the United States of America during a short but significant ceremony held today, Thursday, August 11 at the RLB International Airport.
A contingent of senior Government officials, led by Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, was on hand at the airport to accept the donation of vaccines. Present also were the Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett; Minister of Tourism, the Honourable Lindsay Grant; Attorney General, the Honourable Vincent Byron Jr.; Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Mrs. Delores Stapleton-Harris and Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws.
Thursday’s donation of vaccines to St. Kitts and Nevis is the first of three tranches. The three tranches will total 35,100 doses. The donation comes after months of continued negotiations and diplomacy between leaders in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and officials in the Biden-Harris U.S. administration.
Prime Minister Harris, in delivering remarks during the handing over ceremony, described the donation of these vaccines as a red-letter moment in the Federation’s successful management of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Today must be considered a good day for us in St Kitts and Nevis as we continue our fight against COVID-19, and we navigate our way to recovery. It is indeed a good day in our journey towards delivering the stronger, safer future that my administration has promised our beloved citizens and residents of St. Kitts and Nevis. Today we received the first tranche of 11,700 doses of the well-known Pfizer vaccine. For this, we express our collective gratitude to the President of the United States of America, His Excellency Joseph Biden and his administration,” Prime Minister Harris said.
TheSt. Kitts and Nevis prime minister further noted that through the use of diplomatic channels and strong relationships, his Team Unity Government has been working hard to secure even more vaccines for our people.
“As we continue our all-of-society approach here in our Federation, we will pursue more partnerships with members of the regional and international community to advance the lives of our citizens and residents. We recognize the power of unity and collaboration. As many countries experience a third, and in some cases a fourth, wave of COVID-19 and people are travelling around the world, it is evident that no country is safe until we are all safe. I, therefore, reiterate my call to all advanced countries, often described as the wealthiest countries, to allocate their surplus vaccines to those nations in need. I want to congratulate India and now the United States of America for heeding this call and I want to personally thank President Biden again, and through him the American people, for their generosity and for helping our region in our fight against this dreaded COVID-19 pandemic,” Dr. Harris added.
Accordingto the official CARICOM website, 15 CARICOM Member States will receive the much-anticipated Pfizer vaccines, with 1.5 million doses being allocated to Haiti and the other 4 million doses for distribution among 14 CARICOM countries. The donation from the White House also includes 3 million ancillary kits containing needles, syringes, diluent and other supplies.