A plane carrying 33,600 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine landed in Belize City, Belize on March 31 — the largest shipment of doses the Central American country has received to date.
This shipment was part of UNICEF’s Access to COVID-19 Tools Accelerator and the vaccine’s arm of the accelerator called the COVAX Facility. In February, Latter-day Saint Charities announced a $20 million donation to this global effort.
“Belize cannot afford a child health crisis at this time,” said Alison Parker, representative for UNICEF Belize, in an April 26 Church Newsroom release.
Initial doses in Belize are being administered to frontline health care and social workers, high-risk and vulnerable populations, and those working in the tourism sector because of their value to the hard-hit economy.
“If you are not vaccinated, it will limit what you can do,” said Melissa Sanchez, a Belize City tour guide, who recently got her vaccine. Tourism is one of Belize’s largest industries, with attractions including Mayan ruins, wildlife and one of the longest barrier reefs in the world.
Through the COVAX Facility, UNICEF and its partner organizations are aiming to distribute 2 billion COVID-19 vaccines to nearly 200 countries in 2021. As of April 23, more than 40 million vaccine doses have been shipped to 119 countries and territories since February, according to the news release.
April 24-30 marks World Immunization Week, which promotes the use of vaccines to protect individuals of all ages against disease, build trust in vaccines and combat misinformation.
Read more about the COVID-19 vaccines administered in Belize on the Church’s Newsroom website.