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A nurse prepares a COVID vaccine.

Trinidad and Tobago is one of several Caribbean countries to benefit from further US funding to assist in COVID-19 vaccination campaigns and other COVID-19 related matters.

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced it will give a further US$2.5 million in urgent COVID-19 assistance for countries in the Eastern Caribbean region, The Bahamas, Guyana, Suriname, and Trinidad & Tobago.

This assistance will provide further support for the operational costs of COVID-19 vaccination campaigns, outreach activities to reduce vaccine hesitancy, and equipment procurement to support the development of COVID-19 vaccine information systems, laboratory detection, and vaccine storage.

USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean Clinton D White explained, “The new funding will also respond to urgent gaps in COVID-19 case management such as procuring oxygen, laboratory equipment, and other critical items to help reduce deaths from COVID-19 in Caribbean countries.”

CARICOM Secretary General Dr Carla Barnett, expressed appreciation for this assistance, particularly on behalf of the CARICOM Member States which directly benefit, noting that “no Member State has been spared from this deadly virus and its devastating impact on the health and wellbeing of their citizens and their respective economies.”

She anticipated that the resources will assist the Member States “to intensify their logistical arrangements and communications to further support vaccine readiness while countering vaccine hesitancy and disinformation, which we anticipate will increase the numbers of persons vaccinated against the COVID-19 virus.”

This additional assistance from the historic American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 builds on the previous COVID-19 support provided to Caribbean countries.

USAID has provided nearly $63 million in COVID-19 assistance to the Caribbean, including nearly $7.45 million specifically to the Eastern and Southern Caribbean, since the beginning of the pandemic to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19.

The United States’ COVID-19 assistance to Caribbean countries is helping to deliver vaccines, expand access to COVID-19 testing and treatment, protect and train health workers, deliver life-saving health equipment, and share reliable public health information.