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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Oct. 14, 2021: On Wednesday, U.S. Vice President, Caribbean American Kamala Harris met Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.

Harris said the relationship between that country and Barbados was a very important one.

She also spoke of the importance of the connection between the United States and CARICOM as she welcomed Prime Minister Mottley toa  high level meeting with other officials at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building in Washington DC.

“I truly believe our world is interconnected and interdependent more so than ever before as highlighted by most recent events, including the pandemic, but also as highlighted by one of the greatest crises we face as a globe, which is the climate crisis,” said Harris as she welcomed the prime minister.

“Our conversation today will, I believe, cover a number of these issues including not only what we must do in the short term, but the potential our relationship has in the long term to address these issues in a way that has positive impact on the people of our two countries,” she added.

US Vice President Kamala Harris (R) and Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley speak to the press ahead of a meeting in the vice president’s Ceremonial Office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building, next to the White House, in Washington, DC on October 13, 2021. (Photo by MANDEL NGAN / AFP)

Mottley recognised the “strong leadership” between the two countries. She said the United States and the region faced common threats, noting “the world has never been so precariously placed in decades than it is now.”

The Prime Minister said it was therefore important to work together on issues that included the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, security threats and prosperity promotion.

She thanked Harris for the donation of COVID-19 vaccines, which she said was timely. (The Biden administration is trying to relieve supply-chain bottlenecks ahead of the U.S. Christmas shopping season, but officials acknowledge their options are limited as soaring consumer demand tests transportation and delivery networks.

The meeting came as Barbados is reporting the highest number of COVID cases and deaths since the pandemic started, with a five-fold increase in COVID infections over the last month, PAHO said Wednesday.

Mottley left Barbados on Tuesday to attend an International Monetary Fund meeting in the United States.

The regional branch of the World Health Organization called for concerted action in the Americas to help every country reach the WHO’s vaccination coverage target of 40% of their population by the end of this year.

So far, only nine countries in the region have vaccinated 50 percent of their people, while six – Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Haiti, Guatemala and Nicaragua – have yet to reach 20% vaccination coverage, according to PAHO.

Without concerted action to increase the vaccination rate and public health measures, it is possible that COVID-19 could become endemic in the region, PAHO Director Carissa Etienne warned in a weekly briefing.

Third dose booster vaccination is recommended, especially for people who have received the Sinovac Biotech and Sinopharm vaccines developed in China that studies have shown to provide less protection for young adults, PAHO assistant director Jarbas Barbosa said.

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