Haiti Still Has No COVID-19 Vaccine, Political Climate Remains Tumultuous

Haiti Still Has No COVID-19 Vaccine, Political Climate Remains Tumultuous

It has been over a year since the pandemic hit. Haiti still has no COVID-19 vaccine for more than 11 million people who reside there. Democracy Now! reported that further delays will now likely cause a scheduled first shipment of vaccines due to arrive in May. The article also mentioned the country’s deep political turmoil which followed U.S.-backed President Jovenel Moïse’s refusal to leave office, after expiration of his term.

VOA News cited the Associated Press’s report that concerns among health experts are rising, as the well-being of Haitians is being pushed aside. Violence and political instability across the country are reportedly worsening, which add complexity to the health issue.

The Associated Press further explained that Haiti is slated to receive only 756,000 doses of the Astra Zeneca vaccine thus far. This is supposed to occur through a United Nations program. According to the report, the effort is aimed at ensuring the neediest countries receive COVID-19 shots. The Associated Press noted that delays are expected, because Haiti missed a deadline. According to the report, the key Indian manufacturer is now prioritizing an increase in domestic demand. This raises additional concerns regarding the  wellbeing of the Haitian population.

“Haiti has only recently completed some of the essential documentation that are prerequisites for processing of a shipping order,” Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, a Geneva-based public-private partnership that is co-managing the U.N.-backed COVAX effort, reportedly said.

According to the Pan American Health Organization, Haiti also neglected to apply for a pilot program in to receive a portion of its allotted doses early.

The Associated Press added insight, while reporting that a human rights research center cited in a new U.S. State Department report found Haiti’s government misappropriated more than $1 million worth of coronavirus aid. Additionally, the report accused government officials of spending $34 million in the “greatest opacity,” while bypassing an agency which was tasked with the responsibility of approving state contracts.