On August 20, more than 140,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine arrived in Suriname to help the people of Suriname protect themselves from COVID-19. The delivery of these Pfizer vaccines is the result of very deliberative work involving hundreds of people and the attention of President Biden, his White House Staff, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the U.S. Embassy in Suriname, CARICOM, the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), and the Government of the Republic of Suriname at the highest levels. President Santokhi requested vaccine assistance from the U.S. during a visit by the U.S. Secretary of State in September 2020, and his ministers have persistently advocated for vaccines and other forms of assistance from the U.S. and other countries since the pandemic began in Suriname.
In welcoming the arrival of the vaccines, U.S. Ambassador to Suriname Karen Lynn Williams underscored that the war on COVID-19 has no single, defined front, and requires commitment, cooperation, and determination from all of us if we are to win. “The delivery of these Pfizer vaccines today – enough to vaccinate at least 70,000 people here in Suriname – is yet another reminder of my country’s commitment to Suriname and its people.”
In her remarks, the U.S. Ambassador underscored that each of us can take steps to help us collectively defeat the virus. This includes observing very simple measures like mask wearing, social distancing, and frequently washing one’s hands. Getting vaccinated to reduce the likelihood of transmission and one’s own burden on the healthcare system, should one fall ill, is also a critical step. “I and millions of people in the U.S. are following these measures and getting vaccinated. The Government of Suriname and its business community have worked steadfastly to provide the people of this lovely country with the means to defend themselves. The addition of the Pfizer vaccine, which can be used in children from age 12, is an important new weapon in Suriname’s arsenal against this pandemic. Like any defense, it is only good if people use it. I hope the people of Suriname will take up this, and all opportunities available, to protect themselves and their loved ones.”