The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said on Thursday that Haiti had received its first half-million-dose Covid-19 vaccine following the assassination of its president and the coronavirus epidemic.
The dose was donated to the United States and delivered via COVIDX on Wednesday, an initiative to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccine, UNICEF said in a statement.
“Until yesterday, Haiti was the only country in the United States without a single dose of the Covid-19 vaccine.” UNICEF said in a statement Thursday.
“Thanks to this grant, thousands of Haitians will take their shots against the Kvid-19,” said UNICEF. “Nevertheless, despite concerted efforts to launch a vaccination campaign soon, most countries in the Haitian population are at risk of being unused due to dosage restrictions.”
In an exclusive interview with VOA, Juan Gonzalez, a member of the U.S. National Security Council, said the decision to speed up vaccine delivery was made after a U.S. envoy visited Port-au-Prince on Sunday.
“On Wednesday, we delivered 500,000 COVID-19 vaccines as a result of the trip. And the priority for them is to ensure that healthcare workers are vaccinated so that hospitals and care providers in Haiti and those affected by the epidemic – who are healthcare workers – are vaccinated, “Gonzalez told VOA.
UNICEF reports that the number of deaths and infections caused by Cavid-19 on the highway has almost doubled in the first five months of this year, just one in ten countries that have not launched a vaccination campaign.
The initial batch of vaccines came in July after the assassination of Haitian President Jovenal Moises by an armed hit-squad at his private home in India.
Moyes died during a period of political instability and gang rape in the country. The Pan American Health Organization said his killing raised fears of another upheaval in the COVID-19 case.
U.S. President Joe Biden promised to deliver 60 million doses worldwide by the end of the month by June. His administration plans to grant an additional 500 million doses worldwide next year and 200 million doses by 2021.
Kovacs is leading a joint initiative of Epidemic Preparation Innovations, GAVI, Vaccine Alliance, World Health Organization and UNICEF.
Margaret Besser at the UN and Jorge Agobian, a VOA Spanish correspondent, contributed to the report. The agency also received some information from France-Presse and The Associated Press.