Howard Mitchell, Chairman of the National Health Fund
Jamaica has secured 20,000 doses of the Moderna vaccine.
This was disclosed Thursday by Howard Mitchell, Chairman of the National Health Fund (NHF).
Speaking on the Morning Agenda on Power 106, Mr. Mitchell said a purchase order was issued and the vaccine doses should arrive in April.
Mr. Mitchell said Jamaica is in discussions with 25 suppliers of vaccines, some of whom are yet to get World Health Organization approval.
"None of those discussions have yet come to the point where we can sign a contract, including the discussion with the producers of Covaxin in India. But my instructions are to pursue those discussions to the point of contract and then await further instructions," he revealed.
He is urging Jamaicans to be more consistent in following COVID-19 protocols, especially during the expected lull in vaccine arrivals.
In the interim, Mr. Mitchell is pushing for the supply and use of drugs such as the anti-viral medication Remdesivir to help doctors in treating COVID-19 patients.
In November last year, the Ministry of Health announced that it would discontinue the use of Remdesivir when its supply was depleted.
But Mr. Mitchell said vaccines are not 'silver bullets', so other options to treat patients should be pursued.
He appealed to the health ministry to be "more proactive and more thoughtful in granting permits for these things because the doctors have limited tools with which to fight the infection and Remdesivir is one of them."
Remdevisir is administered to COVID-19 patients with low oxygen levels.
The Ministry of Health halted its use after a World Health Organization study found that the drug has little to no effect on patients' chances of survival.