(Adds details, quote)
PORT-AU-PRINCE, July 14 (Reuters) - Haiti received on Wednesday its first 500,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines donated by the U.S. government through the COVAX vaccine distribution scheme, regional health officials said.
The batch was part of a U.S. pledge to donate some 12 million vaccine doses to countries in the Caribbean and Latin America, according to a statement from PAHO, the regional office of the World Health Organization. The donations were made through the global vaccine facility COVAX, which distributes vaccines to poorer countries.
A national vaccine campaign has yet to begin in Haiti, which has plunged deeper into turmoil following the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Some private companies, however, have distributed doses to their employees.
Preliminary results of a study conducted by the University of Haiti showed only 22% of Haitians, however, would accept the vaccine, according to Jean Gough, UNICEF Regional Director for Latin America and the Caribbean in a separate statement.
"Reaching communities with doses of vaccines doesn't guarantee they want to get vaccinated," Gough said.
Haiti's health ministry reported earlier this month that the country to date has registered around 19,400 total cases, and about 500 deaths. Both figures, however, likely undercount the real impact of COVID-19 due to little testing. (Reporting by David Alire Garcia in Port-Au-Prince and Sarah Marsh in Havana, Writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)
Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.