The United States has announced plans to provide US$1.5 million in COVID-19 assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for countries in the Eastern Caribbean region including Trinidad and Tobago. According to a press release from the US Embassy the assistance will be focused on helping countries with vaccine deployment and readiness, and includes efforts to address vaccine hesitancy and combat vaccine mis- and dis-information.

The following is a press release from the US Embassy:

The United States Government today announced plans to provide US$1.5 million in COVID-19 assistance through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for countries in the Eastern Caribbean region including Trinidad and Tobago, The Bahamas, Barbados, Guyana, and Suriname.

This assistance will be focused on helping countries with vaccine deployment and readiness, and includes efforts to address vaccine hesitancy and combat vaccine mis- and dis-information. The additional support will assist with community vaccination campaigns and engagement activities, strengthen the cold chain environment, train healthcare workers, and develop regional and country-specific campaigns to increase vaccine uptake.

Local, regional, and international organizations such as the local Ministries of Health, local non-governmental organizations, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), UNICEF, and the USAID Country Health Information Systems and Data Use (CHISU) project will implement the activities.

U.S. Embassy Chargé d’Affaires Shante Moore said, “This funding comes at an opportune time to increase the vaccination coverage of the people of Trinidad and Tobago. We are encouraged to see that slightly more than 50 percent of the Trinbagonian population has now been fully vaccinated, but we need to do more to increase the numbers.”

USAID Regional Representative for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean Clinton D. White said, “The funding will fill key gaps to accelerate COVID-19 vaccine uptake, and strengthen countries’ preparedness for future pandemic threats.”

This additional assistance builds on previous COVID-19 support to Caribbean countries. USAID has provided nearly US$63 million in COVID-19 assistance to the Caribbean to address the health, humanitarian, and economic impacts of COVID-19. This includes more than US$7 million specifically for the Eastern and Southern Caribbean region since the beginning of the pandemic.

Assistance to Trinidad and Tobago funded ambulance retrofitting to support vaccination activities, hand sanitizer units at health facilities and ports of entry, and COVID-19 messaging across the country.