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Dominican Republic Says Its Citizens Will Be Among The 1st In The World To Get The COVID-19 Vaccine; Will USVI People Be The Last?

SANTO DOMINGO — Virgin Islands Department of Health Territorial Epidemiologist Dr. Esther Ellis said on November 17 that the territory would receive doses of the FDA-approved coronavirus vaccine “at the same time as the states.”

The question then becomes, how soon will that be? USA Today quoted FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn today as saying that a COVID-19 vaccine could come be made available within weeks — at least, a limited supply to front-line medical workers. Drug companies Pfizer, Moderna and AstraZeneca have the leading coronavirus vaccine candidates. 

Public Health Minister, Plutarco Arias, on Monday said the vaccines that the Dominican Republic government has contracted with the pharmaceutical AstraZeneca, in conjunction with Oxford University, will begin to arrive in the country in February. Arias said doses of the COVID-19 vaccine will begin to be available to the public in March.

The Dominican Republic contracted 10 million doses for $40 million, already approved last week by the Chamber of Deputies in the D.R.

Interviewed by El Día, Arias said they have all the procedures ready and are only waiting on the delivery date.

“We have all the procedures with the three groups that are going to produce vaccines,” Arias said. “In that sense, that is already assured. The other most important part for us is the delivery time, as you already know there are many countries and they will deliver by part, by percentage. Possibly we will have vaccines available in February, but we will most certainly be administering it in March.”

Arias added that the country has already paid to be among the first in the world to receive the doses. He said the first people to be immunized are healthcare workers, people over 65 and those with pre-existing conditions.

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