Information Minister Melford Nicholas says the Browne Administration had expected the move by the Government of India, which has decided to stop the export of the AstraZeneca vaccine.
Reports are that COVID-19 cases in that country continue to rise, and the supply of the drug is not enough to fully vaccinate the population of one billion people.
Nicholas says that Antigua & Barbuda is still hoping to achieve herd immunity by the end of the summer, and that – in the absence of India – the Government has other options available.
Nicholas says, however, that UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and US President Joe Biden are yet to respond to Prime Minister Gaston Browne’s recent letters of request for vaccine donations.
Meanwhile, in Parliament on Thursday, March 25, Browne reiterated that vaccines ordered through the COVAX facility are expected on island in the next two weeks.
He, too, says everything will be done to ensure that the country can get to herd immunity in the shortest possible time.
Further, Browne claims that Russia has promised a donation of vaccines which should arrive on the island in a week or two.
Before its recent decision, India gifted several countries with shipments of the AstraZeneca vaccine, including Antigua and Barbuda, which received 40,000 doses.