On Thursday (July 24), renewed promises were made by officials in Haiti that the country of more than 11 million people would receive its first coronavirus vaccine as it reels from a spike in the disease.
According to Yahoo News, Pan American Health Organization’s Margherita Ghiselli said vaccinations would start “very soon,'' but did not specify exactly when doses would arrive.
Originally, Haiti was slated to receive around 756,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine last month as part of the United Nations’ COVAX program, however government officials were concerned about the vaccine’s potential side effects and waste of them due to the lack of infrastructure to keep them refrigerated.
Robert Barrais, with Haiti’s Ministry of Public Health, said during the meeting hospitalizations have almost doubled and that the country is still in the pandemic’s critical phase.
“The fact that we don’t have vaccines yet, that explains the current situation we have in the country,” Barrais said, according to Yahoo News.
The announcement of potential new doses arriving comes after officials announced that some 130,000 doses were supposed to arrive in mid-June. That shipment was delayed for unknown reasons.
Even if doses do arrive, however, it’s unclear whether the majority of Haitians will get inoculated. During the Thursday meeting, Ronald Jean-Jacques, a professor at Haiti’s State University, presented a survey of over 5,300 Haitians in which more than 60 percent said they would not get the vaccine, and an additional 10 percent said they had not even heard of a COVID-19 vaccine.
“We're always going to have people who don't want the vaccine,” said David Fitter, an official with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
(Photo: CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)