Jamaica to start getting COVID-19 vaccines this month

Jamaica to start getting COVID-19 vaccines this month

Tuesday, February 02, 2021

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JAMAICA should start getting its shipments of COVID-19 vaccines this month, based on discussions between the Government and the Pan American Organization (PAHO), according to Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton.

He told the Jamaica Observer yesterday that discussions are now under way to iron out the details. Expectations are that the country will be receiving at least enough doses to cover the more than 440,000 people in the categories of Jamaicans health authorities want to receive the shots first.

At a required two doses per person, an estimated 677,033 doses of the vaccine would be needed. Health officials said last week that the use of fixed vaccination centres at hospitals and health centres, as well as mobile teams at outposts to get persons immunised will be utilised.

Jamaica is among 36 countries from the Latin American and Caribbean region that have now received letters from the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) notifying them of the estimated number of doses of AstraZeneca vaccine that they could be receiving from the second half of this month through the second quarter of 2021.

PAHO advised on the weekend that the AstraZeneca vaccine, which will be deployed through the COVAX mechanism, is still under review by the World Health Organization (WHO) for emergency use approval.

It said the number of doses and the delivery schedule are still subject to emergency use approval and manufacturing production capacity, as well as subject to establishing supply agreements between the producers, PAHO and UNICEF.

An estimated 35.3 million doses is to be dispatched across the Americas in this first stage.

PAHO Director Carissa F Etienne said that with more than 45 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and over one million deaths across the region, the start of vaccine delivery through the COVAX Facility “is a hopeful step in the fight against this virus and PAHO is proud to facilitate an effort that is urgently needed for our region”.

The other countries notified are: Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bolivia, Brazil, British Virgin Islands, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Granada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

The COVAX mechanism is aimed at ensuring fair access and rapid delivery of two billion doses of COVID vaccines globally by the end of 2021.

– Alphea Saunders

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