Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton, Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Masakui Rungsung, Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr. Morais Guy
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton welcomed the announcement that Jamaica will get a shipment of vaccines from India next week.
The announcement was made by Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Masakui Rungsung at a function Friday morning.
Dr. Tufton thanked the Indian government for the donation, saying it was "the best news I've heard in a very long time."
The 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine made by the Serum Institute of India, are due to arrive early next week. However, in making the announcement, Mr. Masakui declined to give the exact date of the arrival. He noted that the doses should have already arrived but logistic challenges delayed the shipment.
India has committed to providing 500,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines to CARICOM countries.
Following the announcement of the impending arrival of vaccines to Jamaica, Prime Minister Andrew Holness thanked the Indian government, adding that shots are something "the people of Jamaica are most grateful for."
He also addressed criticisms surrounding how long it is taking the government to secure vaccines, suggesting "the work that goes on behind the scenes to get to this point [the government doesn't] bring to the public, and because we don't, it leaves a gap for speculation."
"You would have heard things like the rest of the Caribbean is ahead of us and they have done things that we haven't done. [But] you would have seen a statement from CARICOM which basically explains the position, because Jamaica is not the only country awaiting vaccines," Mr. Holness insisted.
Opposition Spokesman on Health Dr. Morais Guy has also welcomed the gesture by India but said more information should be provided.
"The question that still remains is, was the Government of Jamaica given this offer some time before and is it that it is only with the announcement by the Indian High Commissioner today that Jamaica will be getting that, that it is made public?" he questioned.
Still, he maintained that the arrival of the vaccines next week is good news as it would allow Jamaica to begin its vaccination programme.