Ja the only country in the world to vaccinate 5% of its population in just 37 days – TuftonThursday, April 22, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica – While Jamaica's vaccination programme is lagging, based on a recent review done by CNN on the pace of the vaccination process across the world, the country can boast a health system that is equal in capacity to any in the world, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says.
Dr Tufton told the House of Representatives yesterday that based on the report's vaccine coverage figures, Jamaica is the only country in the world that has given vaccines to five per cent of its population in just 37 days.
“I saw first-hand as I visited the many sites for vaccination, the commitment and fixity of purpose of the health team, the officers from the Jamaica Defence Force and Jamaica Constabulary Force, and other support staff. This was truly a remarkable effort,” Dr Tufton said.
He said this achievement shows that the health system has the capacity to vaccinate the population and so we must now address the vexing issue of supply.
“Jamaica, like other developing countries across the globe, still suffers from the lack of access and certainty around vaccines. Many manufacturers are still not able to meet their supply quota and are struggling due to the lack of ingredients to make sufficient vaccines,” Dr Tufton said.
“According to World Health Organization (WHO) statistics, only 6.51 per cent of the world's population has been vaccinated with at least one dose. While Jamaica is now slightly above this average at seven per cent, this slow pace of international vaccination is contrasted with the developed countries who are at an average rate of approximately 40 per cent.”
Dr Tufton said there is an insidious risk in this approach to the roll-out of vaccines within the world's population.
“Virologists understand and know that the longer the presence of a virus within a population and the more it infects, the greater the possibility for mutation. Complex and significant mutations have already been identified in many populations of the world, and these have resulted in some reduced efficacy in the vaccines that are being manufactured,” he said.
“The slow rate of vaccination can result in higher rates of mutation and the possibility of lower efficacy rates for vaccines that have already been administered. This said risk has been shared by the Director General of the WHO, Dr Tedros Adhanom,” he explained.
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