Jamaica will soon begin inoculating teenagers with the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine after receiving a donation of over 208,000 doses of the vaccine brand from the United States.
The shipment arrived on the island on Thursday at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.
US Charge d’Affaires Scott Feeken presented the vaccines to Prime Minister Andrew Holness and other government officials. He said the donation was made possible because of President Joe Biden’s commitment to helping countries as well as the resilience of Americans.
“As President Biden has said, the United States is committed to bringing the same urgency to international vaccination efforts that we have demonstrated at home. Thanks to the ingenuity of U.S. scientists and the resilience and commitment of the American people, we can now help others in the fight against the COVID-19 virus,” Feekan said.
A total of 600,000 Pfizer doses are to be donated by the US in three phases.
Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness thanked President Biden, Jamaican-American Vice President Kamala Harris and the American people for their generosity.
Holness explained that the government will use the Pfizer vaccines to prioritize children being inoculated.
“These vaccines will be used primarily to target our youth population, to enable them to go back to school,” he stated.
Mr. Holness, again, encouraged all Jamaicans to take the vaccines, adding that the Government will not consider mandatory vaccinations at this time.
“However, the Government of Jamaica will engage in an effective consistent public education campaign to appeal to reasonable-minded Jamaicans, to appeal to Jamaicans who are uncertain… who may have some hesitancy, and to appeal to Jamaicans who may be nonchalant, that it is in your best interest, and it is in the country’s best interest for everyone to take the vaccines,” the Prime Minister stated.
These vaccines are part of the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to share America’s vaccine supply with the rest of the world.