According to the Ministry of Health, 66 thousand Belizeans have been vaccinated - that's 16% of the population - not terribly impressive. But, it could be more, if persons under 18 were included in the vaccination drive. However, at this point, neither of the vaccines being used in Belize have been approved for minors.
In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently recommended that the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine be given to adolescents ages 12-15.
And, that could be offered in Belize sometime soon. The US Embassy's chargé d'affaires teased at the possibility of it in an interview today. Of course, the issue with the Pfizer vaccine is that it has to be stored in an ultra cold freezer - which is not available in Belize.
Here's what the US chargé d'affaires had to say about that today:
"Now, you say you can't eliminate the challenges, but the closest thing to eliminating them would be to get some kids vaccinated. We've had intel that the United States is going to be sharing more vaccines with the region. Are there any plans to share for example Pfizer and Moderna which have been earmarked for use for between 12 to year olds with the country of Belize who vitally needs to vaccinate children?"
Keith Gilges, Charge' D Affairs
"Indeed, Indeed so as we see particularly the US government regulations saying okay these vaccines can be given to kids and at this point the Pfizer are Moderna. Is it just Pfizer?"
"Pfizer is approved for kids 12 to 18 so we can start getting those vaccines out to the younger people but I believe there are trials for 5 and up, again these clinical trials take time, we're not going to say they're safe until we've gone through the trials and the folks on the ground, the scientists say yes it's safe for kids. We will have an announcement sometime relatively soon about providing some facilities so that as the Pfizer vaccines come in there's a facility with the capacity to maintain it at the right capacity, that's forthcoming, not yet but there will be an announcement soon about that."
"So yes there absolutely is an effort. It is important that we vaccinated folks in the US and frankly it's important to Belize's economy that we vaccinate folks in the US because they are the ones."
"Can then start traveling and we're seeing tourism start to pick up. So we are at about 50% vaccination rate in the US for the first jab about 40% have been fully vaccinated. That's going to continue but now we can also start taking the vaccine and the production that we've ramped up and start sharing it with the rest of the world, and that's what the white House announced yesterday. We're going to be pushing out. My job is also trying to make sure we get as much of that to Belize as possible. So I am absolutely writing back to Washington and pushing to say it is vital that we get it done in Belize, as well as the region."
THE Charge says that the official announcement about the freezer will come before the end of the month.