Jamaica is looking to source COVID-19 vaccines from China, Cuba and India, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton has disclosed.
He said on Monday that those countries were well advanced in the research and clinical trials of their vaccines and the government is interested in procuring the shots when they become available.
Earlier this month, when he announced that the administration was exploring access to safe vaccines outside of the World Health Organization (WHO) COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility, Tufton said that Jamaica would enter bilateral meetings with the three nations to ascertain their level of support and to determine the best arrangement for acquisition and distribution of safe vaccines to the population.
“Further to the announcement that Cabinet had given approval for the Ministry to source safe vaccines from other facilities outside of the COVAX Facility, I am pleased to announce that meetings have been held with the Ambassadors of China, Cuba and India. During these meetings we have expressed Jamaica’s interest in obtaining vaccines from these countries, once they become available and are safe for our population,” the Health Minister said.
“Our number one priority remains the safety of our people, and the Government, through the Ministry of Health and Wellness, will continue to seek out all avenues to ensure the best health outcome for every citizen,” he added.
The deployment of COVID-19 vaccines in the Caribbean and other countries across the Americas under the COVAX, is anticipated to get underway at the end of March.
An initial two billion vaccine doses have already been secured from Pfizer Inc. under COVAX for distribution globally in 2021, with another 1.3 billion programmed for 2022.