Mia: We’re looking at other vaccines

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Barry Alleyne

Mia: We’re looking at other vaccines
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley (GP)

Enter Johnson & Johnson into the vaccine mix for Barbados.

With the competition at an all-time high to get vaccines across the world, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley said Barbados had started negotiations in an attempt to add the Johnson & Johnson vaccine to its list of drugs to tackle the COVID-19 virus.

Mottley said last night during a 51-minute press conference that along with an expectation of 33 000 doses of AstraZeneca from the COVAX facility, which is operated through the Pan American Health Organisation, Barbados was trying to secure two additional orders commercially from either India or Europe, but had also started looking to procure Johnson & Johnson.

The Johnson & Johnson drug requires a single inoculation, unlike AstraZeneca, Moderna and Pfizer vaccines, which require two doses of the drug.

“The stories that are coming out from across the world about what is happening with vaccines has made this perhaps one of the most difficult exercises I’ve engaged in,” Mottley said.

“We are not sure exactly when the COVAX vaccines are coming. We will hope that arrival will be in a few weeks. We also have the two commercial orders of AstraZeneca, and then we have the Africa Medical Supplies platform for the provision of 220 million doses of Johnson & Johnson.”

Mottley said the African initiative should see about 1.8 million doses of Johnson & Johnson being made available for CARICOM, which would amount to around 60 000 doses for Barbados. All doses, she said, would have to be paid for by the respective governments.

The Prime Minister said that with just under 64 000 Barbadians already vaccinated with AstraZeneca, Barbados was well on its way to herd immunity, but she noted that additional doses of whichever vaccine, would allow the country to better mitigate against the virus in the long run.

Barbados has also started a dialogue with Cuba, which recently started Phase 3 trials of a vaccine it expects to bring to market this summer. The Government is also looking into the Russian manufactured Sputnik vaccine. (BA)