THE Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has welcomed the support of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) for its call for a global summit to address urgently the issue of equitable access and distribution of vaccines to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
CARICOM Chairman, Dr. Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, had written in January, on behalf of the Community, to the Director-General of the WHO, Dr. Tedros Ghebreyesus, urging him to convene at the earliest possible opportunity, a Global Summit to address urgently equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, particularly for developing countries.
The summit, Dr. Rowley proposed, would be held in the context of the Organisation’s ACT-A Facilitation Council. The call was repeated by CARICOM Heads of Government following the intersessional meeting which they held late last month.
The CELAC statement issued by Mexico as the President Pro Tempore of the group, expressed concern over the lack of delivery of vaccines to the Small Island Developing States (SIDS) of the region. The statement said that while CELAC supported the COVAX mechanism, it called for the Caribbean to “receive the vaccines as quickly and equitably as possible”.
“We are convinced that the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of maintaining a strong, united and caring Latin American and Caribbean Region, where no country is excluded from universal, fair, equitable and timely access to medicines, vaccines and medical supplies.
“Therefore, Mexico joins the call made by the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to hold a Global Summit within the framework of the World Health Organisation to address the urgent equitable access to said vaccines,” the statement said.