Haiti will return thousands of doses of vaccines to the Covax mechanism

Modern vaccine dose administered at Saint Damien Hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on July 19, 2021. Photo: Reuters

Haiti will return to the Covax mechanism thousands of doses of vaccines manufactured by the American company Moderna, which expire next November, because the island’s health authorities have not been able to implement a massive campaign to immunize the population.

The information was confirmed by the co-president of the multisectoral covid-19 management commission in Haiti, Jean William Pape, in statements offered to the local media Le Nouvelliste, who points out that in the Caribbean country they have only managed to vaccinate – with two doses – 27,035 people of the 11.4 million inhabitants, according to the latest report from the Ministry of Public Health and Population.

The return is so that the doses that Haiti has not yet been able to apply are not lost and it is possible to redistribute them to other countries that have more advanced vaccination campaigns.

“It is an exchange that is in keeping with the spirit of the Covax program to avoid vaccine waste,” Pape said.

The health authority also indicated that Haiti will receive other doses through Covax, which will expire in 2022 and will arrive as part of the exchange of the returned drugs.

Last July, in the midst of the crisis over the assassination of Jovenel Moïse, the US sent 500,000 units of the Moderna vaccine to Haiti through Covax. However, Pape assures that the current rate of vaccination puts at risk the thousands of doses of the drug that have not yet been applied to a population that would be reluctant to be vaccinated.

Each time, the population finds an explanation, an excuse, “to exclude the path of the covid-19”, declared Pape, who cited a study carried out on the island that would have determined that 87% of the inhabitants affirm that they do not know of any case of coronavirus, or people who died as a result of the disease.

For Pape, the skepticism stems from the “manipulation campaigns” of anti-vaccine sectors that are disclosed on social networks and that, in turn, contrast with the scant promotion made by the State to the immunization operation in the country.

The infectologist considered that Haiti should redouble efforts to encourage people to get vaccinated and regretted that the country does not have the example of its leaders applying the immunizer, which in his opinion could be influencing the reluctance of the people.

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