Dr. Donald Gordon, President of the Association of General Practitioners of Jamaica and Alverston Bailey, Associate Professor in occupational health and safety at the University of Technology
Dr. Donald Gordon, President of the Association of General Practitioners of Jamaica, has asserted that the health ministry is in a quandary as it relates to ensuring that persons with comorbidities are prioritised for early COVID-19 vaccination.
Persons with comorbidities are not specifically listed on the priority list for vaccines.
The health ministry has said while it will review its list to consider creation of such a category, it might be hard to verify those with comorbidities.
Dr. Gordon says he agrees and the ministry could end up with a very long list of persons.
"It's not easy to really find them and quantify them because, I mean, how do you define a comorbidity? There are persons...persons who are diabetic, hypertensive, obese, depressed, asthmatic, persons with heart conditions.... They are all defined as comorbidities. You'd really have to be able to assess and determine which ones are very serious and life threatening before you put them on a priority," he reasoned.
Alverston Bailey, Associate Professor in occupational health and safety at the University of Technology, noted that the World Health Organization has identified persons with comorbidities as the third priority group.
However, he suggested that the health ministry focus on certain comorbidities which put Jamaicans most at risk.
"263,000 Jamaicans are presumed to be diabetic, 745,000 are presumed to be hypertensive and a whopping 1.45 (million) is obese. Now the relevance of this is, based on the studies that were shown, is that hypertension and ischemic heart disease, along with diabetes, respiratory disease and cancer exposes you to significant risk of dying from COVID-19," he outlined.
Professor Bailey and Dr. Gordon were speaking Thursday evening on Radio Jamaica's Beyond the Headlines.