Over a year since the Coronavirus hit the world, countries over the world have joined in the vaccination race to win the war against the virus.
Unfortunately, it would seem that the nation of Haiti might have been forgotten as new reports claim the country has yet to receive a single dose of the life-saving liquid.
The country of over 11 million people has been scheduled to receive only 756,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine from the COVAX initiative but even the availability of the doses poses a greater problem.
Lauré Adrien, General Director of Haiti’s Health Ministry told reporters that the country currently lacks the capacity to distribute the vaccines before they expire, neither do they have adequate facilities to safely store the vaccines when they eventually arrive.
“If I have three million doses of vaccines, first do we find a safe place for storage? Second do we the capacity to use all the doses before they expire? Because when you received the vaccines and started using them, they could expire. We have to know all these details before we can start receiving the vaccines and saying that it’s available for people to get the vaccines” she said.
Meanwhile, the free doses which were scheduled to arrive in May at the latest have been delayed as Haiti reportedly missed a deadline leading the key Indian manufacturer to prioritize an uptick in local demand.
“Haiti has only recently completed some of the essential documentation that are prerequisites for processing of a shipping order,” said Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a Geneva-based public-private partnership that is co-managing the U.N.-backed COVAX effort.
The country also didn’t apply for a pilot program in which it would have received some of its allotted doses early, according to the Pan American Health Organization.
Political instability and cases of embezzlement have also been blamed for Haiti’s current predicament. A human rights research centre cited in a new U.S. State Department report found Haiti’s government misappropriated more than $1 million worth of coronavirus aid. The report also accused government officials of spending $34 million in the “greatest opacity,” bypassing an agency charged with approving state contracts.
So far, Haiti has reported more than 12,700 cases and 250 deaths, numbers that experts believe are underreported.