Jamaica has secured more vaccines, which should start arriving in the island within a week.
“This is really good news,” said Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, who made the disclosure at a virtual press conference on April 1.
“We have 75,000 doses of AstraZeneca from the African Medical Support Platform (AMSP) and that should be, if not already in transit. Then we have another 20,000 doses of the Moderna, which we have sourced through other commercial arrangements,” he informed.
He said further that based on information from the COVAX Facility, 26,000 doses of AstraZeneca vaccines should arrive in Jamaica in early April.
The Minister noted that these shipments should ensure the Government’s ability to administer vaccines over a two-month period, until the supply chain for COVID-19 vaccine stabilises.
There have been challenges in global vaccine distribution, due to, among other things, supplies being held back by manufacturing countries for domestic use.
“During that time, of course, we are aggressively pursuing other sources and we have expectations to be supplied through the agreements we already have, in particular, COVAX and also the African Medical Support Platform,” Dr. Tufton said.
The Health Minister, in a statement in Parliament on March 30, said that the Ministry, through its procuring agent, the National Health Fund (NHF), and in collaboration with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, have been working assiduously to ensure the supply of safe vaccines for the Jamaican people.
“The strategic posture of the Government has been to make every effort to ensure that we engage with all manufactures through bi-lateral or direct contact. This is to ensure that as soon as vaccines are approved, that shipment can be guaranteed,” he said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said that the country has completed three weeks of the vaccination program, and week four is already underway.
As of March 31, a total of 41, 901 persons had received their first dose of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine.
“In week three, we reached 53 percent (10, 307) of our target (19, 580). So far for week four, we have vaccinated 2, 254 persons of 9, 447, so we are at 24 percent of our target,” he indicated.
The Minister said that the overall vaccination number represents 88 percent of the vaccination target for the month of March.