Guy urges Gov't to launch initiative to obtain soon-to-expire US vaccinesTuesday, June 15, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Opposition spokesman on health and wellness, Dr Morais Guy, is calling on the Government of Jamaica to launch a diplomatic initiative to obtain from the United States a portion of the millions of COVID-19 vaccines reportedly set to expire shortly.
In a statement yesterday, Dr Guy noted that while Jamaica and other developing countries are challenged due to the lack of availability of the vaccine to satisfy local demand, international news reports of millions of vaccine doses approaching expiry dates were worrying.
He said a new diplomatic initiative is urgently needed involving the United States and other major developed countries, the World Health Organisation (WHO), and the Covax facility to divert these vaccines to developing countries for immediate use.
The shadow minister said this would help mitigate the distribution imbalance affecting the global supply, especially in developing states within the Caribbean and the broader international community.
He said there was a severe shortage of vaccines globally, and countries like Jamaica, who are significantly behind their herd immunity goals, could administer these doses as long as they are distributed in time to be allocated and released to people who have been waiting.
The Opposition spokesman said the programme to fast-track the use of vaccines would not compromise global health standards as long the doses are administered before the expiry dates. He explained that the principle to be upheld is that there should be no wasting of this vital drug to fight the global pandemic, which continues to devastate societies worldwide.
During his sectoral presentation on May 26, Dr Guy said the Opposition was adding its voice “to those in the international arena calling on rich countries to share their vaccines with countries like Jamaica”. He also called for “vaccine equity because the world cannot be safe if one country is not safe from COVID-19”.
The Member of Parliament urged the Jamaican government to give the issue immediate consideration using all diplomatic efforts to secure support, starting with CARICOM and other member countries of the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO).
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