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One year after the epidemic, Haiti waits for vaccines amid apathy

PORT-A-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) – In the year since the epidemic began, Haiti has not had a single vaccine that could be offered to its population of more than 11 million, raising concerns among health experts that Haiti’s prosperity aside. is pushed. when violence and political instability deepen in the country.

To date, Haiti plans to receive only 756,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccine through the UN program, which aims to provide COVID-19 personnel to the most needy countries. The free doses were supposed to arrive in May at the latest, but delays are expected as Haiti misses the deadline, with the key Indian manufacturer now focusing on growing domestic demand.

“Haiti has only recently completed some important documents that are a prerequisite for developing a shipment order,” said Gavin, a vaccine-based public-private partnership in Geneva that jointly leads the UN-backed COVAX effort.

The country also did not apply for a pilot program, according to which it would soon receive some of its allocated doses, according to the All-Armenian Health Organization. However, the speaker praised its other epidemic efforts, including strengthening hospital preparedness.

More about the COVID-19 epidemic

At the same time, the Center for Human Rights Research, cited in a new report by the US State Department, found that the Haitian government had embezzled more than $ 1 million in coronavirus aid. The bill also accuses government officials of spending $ 34 million on “the greatest opacity” by bypassing the agency accused of approving government contracts.

Haiti Health Ministry Director General Laure Adrien attributed the delay to the vaccine to a detailed review of AstraZeneca personnel և Concerns that the country does not have the necessary infrastructure to provide adequate vaccine storage, adding that its agency prefers single-dose vaccines. AstraZeneca requires two doses.

“It is no secret that we do not have excellent storage facilities,” he said. “We wanted to make sure we were monitoring all the parameters before getting the vaccine supplies.”

Adrien also said that all the money received by his agency was properly spent, but said that he could not speak for other agencies. The president’s spokesman did not respond to calls for comment.

Many poorer countries have long waited to receive COVAX vaccines, as richer countries have run out of stock or many have received at least pre-shipment. Some took matters into their own hands, providing pictures through donations and private deals.

The shortage of vaccines in Haiti is due to the fact that it reports more than 12,700 cases and և 250 deaths, according to experts, the numbers are underreported.

Perceptions also remain a major challenge.

Although face masks remain mandatory in Haitian business, airport closures, curfews have long been lifted, and other precautions are rare.

“People don’t really believe in the coronavirus,” said Esther Racine, a 26-year-old mother of two whose father died in a devastating 2010 earthquake.

During the Rac era, Racin worked as a maid, but at the beginning of the epidemic, she started selling face masks, quickly making about 800 sales a month. Now he barely sells 200.

“Look around you,” he said, shaking the masked men around him in downtown Port-au-Prince. At present, the only customers are those who need a mask to enter a nearby grocery store, he said, adding that Haitians have other problems on their minds. “People are more concerned about violence than the virus.”

Ongoing protests The rise of: kidnapping և group killings raises questions about how any vaccine will be administered in the face of instability, coupled with people who are afraid to leave their homes.

Many are also afraid to get vaccinated, despite educational campaigns. In addition, some officials have expressed concern about the AstraZeneca vaccine, which has recently come to the fore in Europe after a very small number of recipients developed an unusual blood clot.

“We can get the vaccine and then find out with a heavy heart that the stock has expired in a few months because no one wanted to be vaccinated,” said Adrienne.

Dorselus Perkin, owner of a brick factory, is among those in Haiti who say they will not be vaccinated. Recently, in the morning, the 60-year-old woman supervised more than a dozen employees working abroad. No one wore personal protective equipment.

“We can not wear masks under the sun. “We would be suffocating,” he said, adding that the virus kills the virus, which scientists have not proven.

Perkin also assured that for his health he drinks traditional green tea mixed with salt every day. “I believe in these remedies more than vaccines. I do not know what is inside these vaccines. “

International groups stand with most of COVID-19 resources and educational campaigns in Haiti. The Pan-Armenian Health Organization provided the government with a set of 500 test kits, laboratory diagnostics and virus detection instructions. It also supplied thermometers, PPE, and other items, including megaphones and batteries, when workers moved out of rural areas. In addition, PAHO trained more than 2,800 health workers in Haiti, met with community leaders, including Voodoo priests, traditional birth attendants to exchange information on safeguards, and treatment centers.

In May 2020, the director of the organization said that he was particularly concerned about the potential for a large-scale outbreak, given the health care system in Haiti, the fact that many living in overcrowded households do not have access to clean water. But puzzled experts say there was no predicted outbreak.

“It’s a surprise to many,” said Alin Serin, MD, MD, head of the international aid mission to Haiti. “At the moment, there is insufficient research և documentation to explain why some countries have suffered less from COVID-19 severe cases.”

However, it is unclear when exactly the first vaccines will arrive in the country through COVAX.

Haiti is among the 92 low-income countries expected to receive them. The announcement of the discontinuation of doses by the Indian Serum Institute for the program amid a large number of coronaviruses in India will be among the dozens that last week resulted in the discontinuation of deliveries by the Indian Serum Institute, the world-leading Indian serum institute.

When the shots become really available, experts admit that they will be a struggle to get weapons.

They would have to persuade Haitians, such as Duperval Germ Ermen, a 55-year-old carpenter who said neither he nor his children would be vaccinated. She is worried about getting sick and not being able to get proper medical care.

“The leaders of all those states who have been here, whenever they get sick, they all fly out of here,” he said. “If we get sick, where are we going?” They can keep (vaccines) with them. Use it where needed. “Haiti does not need the vaccine.”


Cotton reported from San Juan, Puerto Rico. Associated Press writer Jamie Kitten contributed to this report in Geneva.


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