US Government supports Jamaica's COVID-19 vaccination effortsFriday, April 30, 2021
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Kingston, John McIntyre, says he has advocated for Jamaica, and the Caribbean as whole, to receive supplies from the 60-million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine which the US government will share with other countries once the Federal Drug Administration has determined it meets its expectations for product quality.
McIntyre was speaking earlier this week, during a webinar, COVID-19 Vax Facts and more, hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce of Jamaica, (AmCham Jamaica).
As part of her remarks, AmCham President Ann-Dawn Young Sang thanked the US Embassy for its advocacy, and also asked that the US government considers sharing some of the FDA-approved vaccines (Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson) with Jamaica and other Caribbean countries.
The US Chargé d’Affaires noted however that the United States does not have any vaccines to share at this time.
He said the United States is trying to ensure that safe and effective vaccines reach vulnerable countries, as well as for expansion of manufacturing and distribution of supplies.
To this end, he shared that the Biden administration has so far spent US$4 billion to support procurement and distribution of vaccines to 92 low- and middle-income countries via the COVAX facility. Jamaica has received almost 70,000 doses so far.
“This is a multilateral mechanism which is really key. This support is part of a broader $11 billion the US government has donated overall to help with broad and equitable global vaccine access, to mitigate secondary impact of COVID, and to boost the international pandemic preparedness, said McIntyre.
He also highlighted that the US government has so far provided over US$4 million to help address Jamaica’s COVID-19 related needs. This amount, he said, covers investments in a variety of areas, including the National Emergency Operations Centre, equipment including two mobile field hospitals, ambulances, buses, ICU beds, diagnostic and other medical supplies, infection prevention and sanitation supplies, critical nutrition supplements, as well as funding for behaviour change communication, community engagement, consultants, and research.
McIntyre noted that while the US contributions are designed to help Jamaica address the current COVID-19 pandemic, they will also serve as key medical infrastructure to support the country’s health needs and disaster relief response needs for the future. He reiterated that US investment in Jamaica’s health care system is “for the now, and for the future”.
The US Chargé d’Affaires noted AmCham as a key partner in supporting the bilateral relationship between the United States and Jamaica and recognised the critical role its members have played in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
The COVID-19 Vax Facts and more webinar was organised by AmCham Jamaica to share information about the virus and the vaccines and to dispel myths. Other presenters were Dr Varough Deyde, director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention, Caribbean Regional Office, who spoke of the CDC’s actions, reports and response to the pandemic; Dr Melody Ennis, director of Family Health Services at the Ministry of Health & Wellness, who shared information about Jamaica’s vaccine programme, and Dr Javier Pérez-Fernández, Medical Director Baptist Hospital Critical Care Unit, Florida, who provided statistics along with updates regarding the situation in South Florida.
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