‘Vaccine discrimination’ must stop before it becomes a norm- CARICOM Chair tells UN


NEWSROOM: Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Gaston Browne has called out countries for placing additional restrictions on vaccinated Caribbean travellers by not recognising some of the vaccines they may have been immunised with.

Browne, who is the Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, said this during his address to the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly on Friday last. Then, the Prime Minister spent much of his time lamenting the unequal distribution of vaccines.

Even as developing countries, like those in the Caribbean, deal with unequal access to vaccines, Prime Minister Browne said that there is yet another concern unfairly affecting Caribbean countries. That is the recognition and acceptance of the COVID-19 vaccines.

Some countries around the world plan to institute travel restrictions or have already rolled out some restrictions; generally, full vaccination is an emerging requirement for travel.

However, some vaccines are not being recognised by some countries and as such, travellers would have to be quarantined upon arrival.

According to Canadian and United Kingdom (UK) travel guidelines, the accepted COVID-19 vaccines are the Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson vaccines.

The United States (US) has said that from November, people visiting the US must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, but the country is still to make a decision on which vaccines it will accept.

These restrictions raise some concerns over whether people fully immunised with the Chinese-made Sinopharm vaccines and the Russian-made Sputnik V vaccines will be allowed to travel.

Browne, however, stressed: “Governments cannot urge people to get inoculated on the basis that the best vaccine is the available vaccine, and yet discriminate against vaccines that were not manufactured directly in North America and Europe.”

He likened these actions to a “vaccine apartheid” and contended that such actions would constrain efforts to vaccinate about 70 per cent of the world’s population by September, next year.

And the CARICOM Chairman emphasised, “This discrimination must cease now before it becomes a norm by some developed countries.

“It is wrong, unjust and patently unfair.”

President Dr. Irfaan Ali addressing world leaders during the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (Photo: Office of the President/September 23, 2021)

Prime Minister Browne was not the only Caribbean leader who raised the concern of vaccine discrimination. Guyana’s President Dr. Irfaan Ali did too.

During his address on Thursday, he said, “The access to vaccines saw the world polarised.”

He continued: “…we must not now hurt our efforts at ending this polarisation of access to vaccines by implementing measures that divide us and curtail our movement based on the type of vaccines our people took.”

Meanwhile, as has been well ventilated by many leaders of developing countries, Prime Minister Browne lamented the inequalities in the global vaccination thrust.

He highlighted that vaccines were hoarded by the richer countries and that pharmaceutical companies demanded prices beyond the capacity of countries’ economies that were already “decimated” by the harsh effects of the pandemic.

“… the world should not witness such a spectacle again,” the Chairman stated firmly.

And as such, the Prime Minister told the gathering of world leaders that the equitable distribution of the life-saving COVID-19 vaccines should be a priority.

Moreover, he said that adequate resources should be made available to deal with COVID-19 testing and treatment too.

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  1. Ok. I’m thinking aloud. Taking bread out of employees mouths because they opt not to take the vaccine, isn’t that wrong, unjust and patently unfair? I believe these employees would prefer to get tested bimonthly instead.

  2. It is wrong, unjust and patently unfair that YOU GASTON Browne are taking away right of citizens who choose to exercise their rights of choice and right to deny something they dont want in their body. Same tune different song. That’s how you know this man is a hypocrite.

  3. When you Gaston Browne get to pick a vaccine type that is perceived to be a superior brand and not available to the citizens who elected, you that sends a message of superiority. You are in 1st class and your health is more important than everyone else. That is discrimination!

  4. Dictator, so the vaccine is useless? The governments are making a mockery of people. If people are fully vaccinated in there respective countries and the U.S. does not recognize it, Does it mean that the vaccines aren’t effective? If they are not effective, why the government of Antigua and Barbuda starving people who refuse to put useless, harmful substances in their bodies? Dictator, your tongue is a double edge sword. If you demand that Antiguans must take this vaccine or else… why didn’t not take it? So you can travel but Antiguans can’t go nowhere? You are protected, but other Antiguans are not?

    Another food for thought: if America not accepting certain vaccines because of political rivalry, i.e. (China and Russia) what does that tell you? it’s not about saving lives but about politics, power, greed and money. Dictator, use your brain and reverse your madness. What you are doing to Antiguans and Barbudans is wrong, unjust and patently unfair. What goes around, comes around and in the scheme of things, you are considered a regular Joe. You don’t matter.

  5. They have been lying to us from the onset, they started off with the immune compromise people over 60, then bribe for kfc, $50 vouchers for food, $5000 raffle, land raffle,next they change the age group then they mandate, if people think the government have their best interest at heart, you are living on redonda, totally unaware. All the tactics of trying to get persons to take the vax is a deceptive move

  6. What a hypocrite!. Where you have “urge”, please put “force”. PM you should avoid using words like discrimination, unjust and unfair, I do not think you have an understanding of what those words mean.

    For what reason exactly do you think these big countries care about the plight of the “small” islands? By the way PM again, these are something else NOT vaccines! and those of us who have taken it are the lab rats. THEY DONT CARE ABOUT YOU AND YOUR SMALL ISLAND, THEY CAN PRETEND TO BUT THEY DONT. If you make a deal with the devil, he will make you feel like you have a say, UNTIL….

  7. Only a bold and brave Prime Minister like our Gaston Browne would not hesitate to give it to them straight, without fear. We’re small but we’re tallawah

  8. This guy needs to do his homework. Sputnik is only not approved due to poor manufacturing methods meaning contamination is a risk, its no political, its common sense and WHO will approve once issues rectified.
    As for chinese, well nothing from china is good quality so they are protecting us not approving it

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