, pub-0506098242811370, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0 ads.txt

Jamaica now to get first shipment of COVID vaccines by Feb – Gov’t

Jamaicans will begin to receive COVID-19 vaccines in February rather than April as was previously announced, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton has announced.

Tufton told the House of Representatives on Tuesday in an update on vaccine procurement that the Government has been in discussion with five countries and one additional facility to explore other options for vaccines outside of the COVAX facility.

He said all are at an advanced stage of vaccine development.

Tufton said 140,000 doses of vaccines from the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVAX facility and 249,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines should be available as of mid-February.

“This means that some 125,000 Jamaicans could receive the vaccine in the latter part of February into March,” Tufton stated.

“Our interest is in the AstraZenca vaccine from this facility. India also has COVAXIN vaccines available and it will be making some 500,000 doses available to Caricom. We are awaiting the approval of the WHO of the COVAXIN and the notification of the amount that will be allocated from India for Jamaica,” Tufton said.

He told the House that the government is also pushing to obtain information on vaccines from China and Cuba, where the development of vaccines are at phase three of the trial stage.

“We await further information on those vaccines as it relates to their officially assessed level of clinical efficacy and the allocation that could become available to Jamaica,” he said.

The health and wellness minister said Jamaica was also looking at obtaining the AstraZenca vaccines from Mexico and the United Kingdom.

He also disclosed that Jamaica has made a formal request to the Caricom Secretariat, for some 250,000 doses of the vaccines as determined by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) from the 1.5 million doses allocated to Caricom by the African Medical Supplies Platform (AMSP).

Meanwhile, Tufton said he will be meeting with key stakeholder groups over the next week to finalise plans to introduce the first set of COVID-19 vaccines on the island.

The talks will include the National Vaccine Commission, which is the group of stakeholders from the various sectors of society, and the National Coordinating Committee, which is the technical working group comprising of clinicians and other public health specialists.

Tufton said his ministry will also convene a meeting with private practitioners from across the island to discuss their role in the distribution of the vaccines, especially among the high risk groups.

Healthcare workers, members of the security forces, parliamentarians, correctional officers, customs and immigration officers, the elderly and persons in infirmaries will be first in line to receive the jab in the arm.