Jamaica is expected to receive a shipment of the one-dose Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine in two months, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton said on Thursday.
“We continue to work to get additional vaccines….We have paid down a fairly substantial sum, just over $350 million for 1.9 million doses of Johnson & Johnson vaccine, with first shipment to arrive in August,” he said.
“That Johnson and Johnson delivery will take place over several months.”
Jamaica has now completed 13 weeks of vaccination and as of Wednesday, about 161,850 persons had received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine – approximately eight per cent of the targeted population of 1.924 million – and 28,355 persons had been administered the second dose.
“There are some persons who were due to receive in May who have not come to get the second dose and we are still analyzing. There are some persons who felt that because they had the one day or so side effect, they have become afraid to take the second dose,” Dr. Tufton said.
“I think it’s important to stress that not taking the second dose renders the effect, the efficiency and the protection of the first dose redundant over time. To put it simply, you are going back to square one, which means you become as vulnerable as someone who has not taken the vaccine at all.”
The first dose can offer protection for up to 120 days.
“It would be a waste for you to get three months’ protection and then… you’re back to square one,” the Health Minister said.
Jamaica now has 49,110 confirmed cases of COVID-19 since the pandemic began last year. There have been 989 deaths associated with the virus.