Dr. Christopher Tufton, speaking with 'Hotline' host Emily Shields
Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton has said while politicians are part of the priority group to receive the COVID-19 vaccine they were not considered among the first to be inoculated.
On Tuesday when the health ministry unveiled its interim vaccine plan, government officials were slated to get the jab at the same time as healthcare workers.
However, in a media release Thursday night, the health ministry said members of parliament, the judiciary, parish councillors, senior civil servants and senior technical officers would be vaccinated after key groups of persons.
Speaking Friday on Radio Jamaica's call in programme, Hotline, Dr. Tufton said the media release was to provide clarity on the vaccination plan.
"The perception was given in the initial unveiling of the plan that we were going to be inoculating or providing vaccine jabs to government officials in the first instance and the numbers there in the plan as government officials numbered over 5,000; and this was not the case in the first instance. I mean they were certainly part of the priority group but the priority groups are many and the first priority would have been health care workers, the over 60s, the government officials or leaders who are critical to managing this process," he sought to explain.
Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Jamaica Defence Force are now also ahead of political representatives for the jab.
The health ministry release on Thursday night said vaccination of the priority groups will begin this month as soon as supplies arrive.
It said as additional stocks arrive, vaccination of the 60 and older age group will continue with the addition of the Jamaica Fire Brigade; Department of Correctional Services; Jamaica Customs Agency; Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency; school personnel and government workers who interface directly with the public.
Only after these groups have been vaccinated will, parliamentarians and other government officials get their shots.
However, elderly government officials can receive the vaccine with the 60 and over group.
More vaccination sites
Dr. Tufton also revealed Friday that additional sites have been secured for health care workers to be vaccinated.
On Tuesday, the ministry had said it secured 56 vaccination sites, but that number has since increased to 76.