Health, News, Regional News

1.8 million COVID vaccines secured from Africa for Jamaicans – Tufton

Published 1 March, 2021


Buckie Got It, St. Kitts and Nevis News Source

Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, says 1.8 million COVID-19 vaccines have been secured for Jamaicans who are willing to take the dosages.

A survey by the ministry has suggested that 35 to 40 per cent of the 450,000 persons to be initially vaccinated have indicated their willingness to take the vaccines.

“We can now confirm that the allocation under the African Medical Supply Platform has been approved, and a total of 1.8 million doses of the vaccines are to be supplied to Jamaica starting April 2021,” Tufton announced.

He was speaking at a virtual press conference on Sunday to update the nation on the Government’s response to the present spike in COVID-19 cases.

Prior to the arrival of those vaccines in April, 14,400 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines are to be delivered on or before March 11 under the COVAX Facility, according to Tufton.

In relation to 50,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines from India, the minister said the shipment is expected to arrive in the island on or before Thursday of this week

He shared that the Health Ministry, as well as the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, will continue to “pursue all legitimate points of supply for vaccines.

“As stated in previous press conferences, the mandate is to identify and source 3.5 million doses of vaccine by March 2021, to inoculate at least 65 per cent of the Jamaican population,” Tufton stated.

The Health Ministry had indicated that among the first cohort of individuals who will be vaccinated are: healthcare workers; Government officials; the elderly who are 60 years and over; members of the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) and the Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF); persons employed at the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA); and persons who work in early childhood, primary and secondary education institutions.

These individuals represent approximately 450,000 individuals who will need to take two doses of the vaccine.

Of that figure, Tufton said based on a survey, “on average 35 to 40 per cent of persons” are willing to take the vaccine, while “25 to 30 per cent are unsure, or are waiting for more information.”

But 25 to 30 per cent of individuals surveyed have stated that they will not take the vaccine.

“As such, our target for the first phase of (vaccine) implementation is 65 per cent of the groups in phase one,” Tufton shared.

The minister has advised that at Thursday’s COVID Conversations, more information will be provided on the island’s vaccine implementation.

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