BASSETERRE, St. Kitts, October 15, 2020 (Press Unit in the Office of the Prime Minister) – The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis has taken the necessary steps and made the necessary commitments to ensure the Federation is able to gain early access to safe COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus) vaccines when such vaccines become available.

While making a presentation in the Thursday, October 15 sitting of the National Assembly on the ongoing preparations for the full reopening of the Federation’s borders, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris reported that St. Kitts and Nevis has joined the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access facility (COVAX Facility), which provides an opportunity for member states to benefit from a portfolio of vaccine candidates using a range of technology platforms produced by manufacturers across the world.

“It provides member states with early access to safe and efficacious vaccines. You will have many types of vaccines on the market, but the question is are they safe and do they deliver? When they are determined to have delivered, we say we have efficacious outcomes from the applications, and so that is what this COVAX Facility is intended to do,” Prime Minister added.

Countries participating in the COVAX Facility will have access to doses of vaccine as a result of the advance purchase commitments that the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI) will conclude with vaccine manufacturers. As doses become available, they will be allocated to all participating member states in accordance with the terms and conditions agreed.

The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis submitted the signed commitment agreement with the GAVI on September 18, 2020 and confirmed the country’s participation in the COVAX Facility.

The full down payment amount of US$223,660 became due on October 9, 2020. The Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) consented to pay US$96,163 on behalf of the Federation and the Government has paid the balance US$127,497 on the due date.

The prime minister added, “Your Government, thinking ahead and understanding the landscape, has invested just under EC$600,000 to participate in a global facility to make the vaccine available to the people of St. Kitts and Nevis. We are putting your health first.”

Prime Minister Harris said his Government will continue to do all that is necessary to keep its citizens and residents safe, particularly in the face of the ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic.