Public-private partnership good for COVID-19 vaccines

Public-private partnership good for COVID-19 vaccines

Friday, January 15, 2021

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Dear Editor,

We welcome the Government's position to go to the market for affordable, safe, and effective vaccines.

About 40 countries are currently vaccinating their citizens and they are all rich countries. The USA bought about 200 million doses of the AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine, but their Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not even approved that vaccine as yet. Israel and Bahrain are way ahead with vaccinations. Money talks.

We do not have to await the FDA because there are many agencies in countries such as Britain and other parts of Europe, Russia, China, Cuba, etc.

The first vaccine that was rolled out was SPUTNIK V by the Russians, but it was criticised by us in the West when we did not know enough about it and jokes were made that Vladimir Putin's daughter got it – now it is the vaccine for Argentina's national programme.

The supreme leader in Iran has banned US and UK vaccines and Cuba is doing stages two to three trials in Iran. The vaccines now being produced by other countries largely use old, reliable vaccine techniques and not the RNA that Pfizer and Moderna (named after ModeRNA) that are expensive and would need logistics, such as extreme cold chain, almost not possible in our hot climate.

Flu, hepatitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), polio, measles, and many other vaccines are currently being given by our private practitioners. Jamaica already has an excellent vaccination profile — better than the US, Canada and UK — and maybe bettered only by Cuba in this hemisphere.

If our pharmaceutical distributors are given appropriate licences to import effective vaccines for the SarsCoV-2 many people will buy their own vaccines without awaiting government hand-outs while the Government immunises those who cannot afford it.

Wendel Guthrie

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