Alverston Bailey and Dr. Christopher Tufton
The Government is being urged to include private doctors and pharmacists among those health professionals authorised to administer COVID-19 vaccines at their facilities.
Alverston Bailey, Associate Professor in occupational health and safety at the University of Technology, says this will help with the logistics challenges expected once the vaccination programme gets underway.
Professor Bailey says currently private doctors administer vaccines at their offices for other illnesses and submit the information to the Ministry of Health.
He says this process can be replicated for the COVID-19 inoculations.
"All they need to do is just incorporate the doctors...visit their facility, ensure that they are properly equipped to store vaccines and just ask them to vaccinate their patients and put the information into the database," he suggested.
Professor Bailey was speaking Friday on the Morning Agenda on Power 106.
Earlier this week, Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton said while private doctors would be participating in the vaccination programme, they would not be allowed to give the jabs at their offices.
Dr. Tufton said at least for the early part of the programme, it was important for the public health infrastructure to manage the process, "largely for planning purposes, for coordinating (and) for data collection and assessment."
He argued that the government had to "be careful in these circumstances not to attempt to allow for too much flexibility in the management for fear that it creates some confusion."
But Professor Bailey is in support of pharmacists who say they are ready to assist in administering the vaccines.
He reasoned that this process would be feasible since they "actually are the ones who store vaccines."
Dr. Winsome Christie, President of the Pharmaceutical Society of Jamaica, has said a number of pharmacists have already been trained under a vaccination programme.