Gov't to explore other sources for COVID vaccines

Covid-19

Gov't to explore other sources for COVID vaccines

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

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KINGSTON, Jamaica— The Government will be exploring bilateral arrangements with countries that have indicated their willingness to partner with Jamaica to ensure the safe vaccination of the population.

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said based on the pace of development and the need to safeguard the population, the Government, through Cabinet, has also agreed to begin to explore Jamaica's access to safe vaccines outside of the COVAX facility.

Addressing the House of Representatives this afternoon, Dr Tufton said the Ministry of Health and Wellness in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will begin the process of exploring how to leverage our international engagements to secure additional supply access for safe vaccines.

“Going forward, the Government will now enter bilateral meetings with states to include India, China and Cuba, to ascertain their level of support and to determine the best arrangement for acquisition and distribution of safe vaccines to the population,” Dr Tufton said.

China has four vaccines that are near approval stage, some that have been approved in their home country for emergency use in their populations; India has two vaccines that are at the last stages of approval; and Cuba has four vaccines, one of which is at phase three trials.

“It must be understood that the Ministry of Health and Wellness will maintain its very rigorous process of review for all medical supplies administered within our jurisdiction. Therefore,

the Standards and Regulations Division of the ministry, in collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the Pan American Health Organization, will be maintaining the requirements for the Emergency Use Authorisation for the vaccines,” he said.

He said for the granting of Emergency Use Authorisation, the vaccine must meet one of the following criteria -- be included in the World Health Organization's Emergency Use Listing for

prevention of SARS-CoV-2 infection (COVID-19); or be granted authorisation for emergency use for prevention of COVID-19 by the US Food and Drug Administration, Health Canada or the European Medicines Agency.

The Government has joined the COVAX Facility as part of its strategic approach to access safe vaccines for Jamaicans.

Through the facility, Jamaica has been able to negotiate vaccine dosage prices of US$10.55 reduced from the going average price of US$35.00, and the first batch of vaccines are expected in April.


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