Dr. Christopher Tufton
The Cabinet has given approval for the Ministry of Health to begin sourcing vaccines outside of the COVAX Facility.
There has been concern about access to vaccines as many rich countries begin to vaccinate their populations, while countries like Jamaica wait to receive shots through COVAX, which has been organised by the World Health Organization.
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton said the Cabinet deliberated on the matter on Monday and Jamaica will now explore bilateral agreements with countries developing vaccines, including as India, China as well as Cuba.
"It must be understood that the Ministry of Health and Wellness will maintain its very rigorous process of review for all medical supplies that are administered within our jurisdiction. Therefore, the Standards and Regulations division of the ministry, in collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) and the Pan American Health Organization, will be maintaining the requirements for the emergency use authorisation for the use of these vaccines," he noted.
Dr. Tufton also revealed that more people are to receive vaccines in the first tranche under the COVAX Facility in April.
"...The first batch of vaccines that are due in April 2021 has been increased from an original figure of one per cent on that date or that month, to five per cent, which represents, Madam Speaker, a total of some 292,000 doses - enough to vaccinate approximately 146,000 Jamaicans," he disclosed.