No politics and favoritism around COVID-19 vaccination — PMTuesday, March 02, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says the Government will be guided by the principles of “equity, efficiency and transparency” in distributing vaccines to Jamaicans.
During a press conference on Sunday, Holness also warned that the country has “no time to waste on cheap politics”.
He said that there will be serious consequences if there is a breach of any of the principles established.
“The public must be assured that there is no favoritism in vaccination. So, once the health minister and his team, meaning the permanent secretary, the CMO and the other hard-working Officials of the Ministry of Health and Wellness determine what that vaccination schedule and priority is, then nobody should try to over-ride the process, that cannot work,” he said.
The Prime Minister explained the principles as follows;
• Principle 1 - Equity; Those who need it the most; the most vulnerable.
• Principle 2 - Efficiency; if the vaccine is offered and rejected, the Government will proceed to the next person because of the short-shelf-life of the vaccine and the risk of significant loss should the vaccines expire while the Government waits for people to make their decision.
• Principle 3 - Transparency; all ministers and political personnel have been directed not to interfere in the established schedule of inoculation.
He also reiterated that the Government has given careful consideration on the COVID-19 vaccines, to ensure only safe and approved vaccines for the country.
“We have to depend on global institutions because we do not have the institutions here to certify definitively whether a vaccine is safe,” he said.
“We can't just secure any deal; there are different types of vaccines and we have to consider all the factors in negotiating the ones for our country,” he added.
Holness further noted that among the considerations are the storage and distribution logistics.
“What we would not want is to bring vaccines here and we are not ready to distribute them. The vaccines have a definite shelf life and so we have to time supplies to make sure that when the vaccines arrive in the country we can distribute very quickly,” he said
In the meantime, the prime minister expressed gratitude to the Government of India for their donation of 50,000 units of the vaccine which is scheduled to arrive in the island soon.
Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at https://bit.ly/epaper-login