Fourteen independent Caribbean Community (CARICOM) states insisted on the equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, in a resolution adopted by the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) by acclamation on Wednesday.
The resolution was presented on behalf of CARICOM by Antigua and Barbuda’s Ambassador, Sir Ronald Sanders, who was the architect of the original resolution and who was the chief negotiator for its adoption along with Trinidad and Tobago’s Ambassador Anthony Phillips-Spencer, the Chair of the CARICOM caucus.
It called for a scaling-up of production by the main vaccine-producing countries, faster distribution of the vaccines, and low-cost financing from international financial institutions so that developing countries can buy needed stocks.
The resolution also called expressed grave concern about inequitable access and distribution of vaccines.
Speaking for CARICOM, Ambassador Sanders told the OAS that its 34 member states accounted for 45 per cent of the infected cases and 48 per cent of the deaths globally.
“That is almost half the global number of infected cases and nearly half the number of deaths in the world,” he said.
“Those figures alone should give each of us – and all of us – every good reason to be gravely troubled about the damaging effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on the health and well-being of our peoples. In many, if not all, of our countries, our hospitals are finding it enormously difficult to cope”.
Sir Ronald explained that while the majority of developing states, including in Latin America and the Caribbean, are still without stocks of vaccines, “some developed countries have ordered vaccines, in one case, five times the size of its population, and are hoarding them at a time when they are desperately needed throughout the world”.