Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 01, 2021 (SKNIS): The Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis was gifted 20, 000 doses of the Made in India COVID-19 – COVISHIELD (Oxford University-AstraZeneca) vaccines by the Government of India at a brief but significant ceremony held at the Robert Llewellyn Bradshaw International Airport on Monday, March 01, 2021.
High Commissioner of India, His Excellency (H.E.) Dr. K.J. Srinivasa, said that the vaccines will prove very beneficial to St. Kitts and Nevis and “meet the requirements of vaccinating the frontline workers and those with comorbidities in the Federation.”
“I have to highlight that the gifting of the vaccines to St. Kitts and Nevis honours Prime Minister’s Modi commitment to use India’s vaccine production and deliver capacity for helping all of humanity in fighting the dreaded disease. It also demonstrates India’s assistance to our friendly nation of St. Kitts and Nevis which occupies a very special place in India’s Foreign Policy,” said H.E. Srinivasa. “It is in times such as these emergency situations that the real friends come out and I must say this day really marks a special milestone in our bilateral relationship.”
High Commissioner Srinivasa said that India’s success in delivering the COVID-19 vaccine within weeks of its approval “demonstrated” the country’s “willingness and ability to act as first responders” to global crisis especially to countries within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
The high commissioner touched briefly on the relationship between St. Kitts and Nevis and India, and said that both countries “share a very special bond” and that their “shared values of democracy and [the rule of] law strengthen bilateral partnerships.”
He noted that during the pandemic the Government of India provided much-needed support to St. Kitts and Nevis. In 2020, they provided life-saving medicines and medical supplies worth US$ 100,000 and 10, 000 Hydroxychloroquine tablets to St. Kitts and Nevis “as a gesture of goodwill in support of its fight against COVID-19,” to name a few.
The COVISHIELD vaccine was manufactured by the Serum Institute of India, Pune, the largest vaccine manufacturer in collaboration with Oxford University-AstraZeneca. In addition to St. Kitts and Nevis, vaccines were also gifted to Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Lucia and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris; Minister of Health et al. the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett; Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Honourable Mark Brantley; Dr, Hazel Laws, Chief Medical Officer; Dr. Cameron Wilkinson, Medical Chief of Staff, other members of the health fraternity, and Cabinet were in attendance at today’s ceremony.