Thu | Feb 25, 2021

First set of COVID-19 vaccines to arrive on April 21

Published:Tuesday | January 19, 2021 | 3:34 PM

Jamaica is to begin receiving COVID-19 vaccines from the COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility on April 21, 2021.

The announcement was made in the House of Representatives by Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton a short while ago.

The COVAX Facility is designed to accelerate equitable access by countries globally to safe COVID-19 vaccines.

Jamaica is among six Caribbean Public Health Agency members which have been provided with the full down payment required for the COVAX facility.

Tufton told parliament that 292,399 doses of the vaccines, which is enough for five per cent of the population, will be delivered in April.

Healthcare workers, members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force, members of the Jamaica Defense Force, correctional officers, custom immigration officers, parliamentarians, persons in infirmaries and the elderly are at the top of the list to receive the jabs first.

The vaccine is to be administered in two doses, which will be given weeks apart. 

The other doses are scheduled to arrive in Jamaica on July 21 and December 21.

By the end of that period, 16 per cent of the population should be vaccinated through COVAX.

Vaccination sites will be set up at the University Hospital of the West Indies, Bustamante Hospital for Children, National Chest Hospital, Spanish Town Hospital, Mandeville Regional Hospital, Cornwall Regional Hospital and the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital for frontline staff.

Some health centres are also being contemplated to be used as vaccination sites.

Although the vaccines are expected to arrive in Jamaica in three months time, countries such as the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom have already began vaccinating their populations.

Their dependent territories have also been receiving doses.

This has led to outrage by the leader of the World Health Organization that poorer countries could be left to suffer as the pandemic prevails. 

Tufton also announced that Jamaica will be looking to Cuba and India to get additional vaccines.

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