The leaders of the House Haiti Caucus, Representatives Val Demings, Andy Levin, Yvette Clarke, and Ayanna Pressley, sent a letter to the White House last week calling for an immediate escalation and acceleration of the distribution of excess COVID-19 vaccines to Haiti.
“COVID-19 cases are surging in Haiti and the U.S. response must be accelerated,” said Reps. Demings, Levin, Clarke, and Pressley. “Hospitals and public health infrastructure in Haiti are overwhelmed by cases, and patients are being turned away. Health organizations around the United States have contacted our offices because their attempts to donate unused doses to Haiti have been blocked by red tape. The Biden Administration must cut through the bureaucracy and get vaccines where they are needed.”
The members of Congress called for immediate action despite the challenges.
“We recognize the logistical challenges posed by this mission, including the need to work with trusted community partners and NGOs in Haiti who have the experience and integrity necessary to protect and fairly distribute these life-saving shots. But each day brings needless loss to the people of Haiti. We must act, and act today.”
Wrote the Members in their letter:
“Despite the sharp increase in cases, the Haitian government has not been able to administer a single dose of any approved vaccines. We greatly appreciate the Administration’s allocation of COVID-19 vaccines for Haiti but remain concerned that the donations will not arrive in time to prevent further illness among priority populations, including health workers. Indeed, the United Nations’ Vaccine Market Dashboard has no scheduled COVID-19 vaccine deliveries to Haiti from COVAX or any other source.
“The urgent need for vaccines in Haiti demands that our government use all authorities and flexibilities available under the law. We additionally call on the Administration to work with medical experts who have established relationships with the Haitian Ministry of Health and non-governmental organizations, including colleges and universities, to immediately allocate and distribute COVID-19 vaccines directly.”