By Jem Smith
Belize became the first country to receive 100,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the Government of Mexico as part of an ongoing effort to increase access to vaccines within the region. A delegation headed by H. E. Maximiliano Reyes Zuniga, Undersecretary for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Secretariat of Foreign Trade and Immigration, arrived at the Philip S.W. Goldson International Airport (PGIA) on Saturday, June 12 to deliver the vaccines on behalf of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador of Mexico. Condolences and support to the families of those lost to COVID-19, 326 in Belize so far, were extended on behalf of President López Obrador.
Additionally, as many as 138,000 vaccines are to be received through the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX), in the coming months. Dr. Natalia Beer, Maternal and Child Health Technical Advisor in the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW), says that some 6,000 of those are expected as early as July. The combination of vaccines from both the Government of Mexico and COVAX will greatly improve our in-country capacity as well as access to the target population. There are still issues; however, with people being hesitant to be vaccinated. Dr. Beer says that this mostly has to do with misinformation as well as ignorance of the science and safety behind vaccines. Still, the Ministry encourages people to be inoculated through education campaigns but also depends on people to be responsible.
To date, more than 74,000 people have been vaccinated once with more than 19,000 having been fully vaccinated. According to data from the MOHW, less than 160 people are currently infected with COVID-19.
By Jem Smith