Opposition calls for mixed vaccines, removal of 'barriers' to boost AstraZeneca take up before expiryFriday, October 22, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica— Opposition Spokesman on Health and Wellness, Dr Morais Guy is encouraging the government to immediately create and implement appropriate new strategies for an accelerated take up of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, as existing stocks of 150,000 are set to expire in less than 10 days.
In a statement released Friday, Dr Guy said mixing and matching vaccine brands is a low hanging fruit, as within the over 100,000 Jamaican adults who took the Pfizer vaccine, there are many who are overdue for second doses. However, he said, since the government is unable to confirm dates for Pfizer shipments, such persons should be offered the AstraZeneca.
Dr Guy said such a decision was timely, as the United States two days ago joined several European countries in either approving or accepting the use of mixed vaccines.
The Opposition spokesman stated that in the past Jamaica has relied on FDA approval of several drugs for use in the local market. He reminded that last month in a media interview, he had also recommended the use of mixed vaccines in line with other jurisdictions. These now include the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
Dr Guy said all stops should be pulled out by the government to ensure that all expiring AstraZeneca vaccines in Jamaica are used up before the imminent expiry date. He called for full mobilisation of medical professionals to work along with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to ensure a national effort to use up the vaccines.
He added that all the existing barriers and logistical issues must be cleared in order to make the process simpler.
“One of these barriers is the mandatory provision of a TRN to access vaccination, even if citizens furnish a government issued identification,” Dr Guy noted.
He recalled national surveys which show that over 30 per cent of Jamaicans were eager to be vaccinated, yet only 12 per cent have been done to date, while at the same time, tens of thousands of the precious vaccines have already been dumped with the possibility of more staring the country in the face.