Mon | Mar 8, 2021

Updated | Private sector partners with Ministry of Health to boost vaccination deployment

Published:Wednesday | January 27, 2021 | 4:52 PM
Under the guidance of the health ministry, the private sector will be allowed to purchase and import its own supply of COVID vaccines for deployment through the private health care network, as is currently done with the annual flu vaccine.

A public-private partnership has been forged to assist Jamaica with achieving herd immunity against COVID-19 in the shortest possible time. 

Herd immunity occurs when a large portion of a population, through vaccination, becomes immune to a disease. 

The key liaisons are the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters' Association, the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ) and the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce. 

"The private sector stands ready to work together with our government," said Christopher Zacca, a former PSOJ president.

It will assist in sourcing and resourcing the acquisition of vaccines, assisting with the provision of transportation and storage, human resources in the areas of the administration of training, marketing and public relations and the allocation of trained inoculators.

Zacca, who is also the President and CEO of Sagicor Group Jamaica, further said the private sector will be pushing for the vaccination of workers and staff to enable the full resumption of all productive activities which require close proximity.  

Under the guidance of the health ministry, the private sector will be allowed to purchase and import its own supply of COVID vaccines for deployment through the private health care network, as is currently done with the annual flu vaccine. 

Zacca said it is imperative that as many Jamaicans are inoculated against COVID-19.

"Those of us who can help have an obligation to do so in order for our nation to rise as one,” he said.

JCC President Lloyd Distant agreed that advancing the vaccination programme will encourage an early return to a productive economy.

“From an internal perspective as the private sector, we certainly want to ramp up productive capacity and increase productive capacity as quickly as possible,” Distant said. 

Meanwhile, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said the partnership is appropriate, timely and in keeping with the governance structure contained in the Interim National Vaccine and Deployment Plan which was recently approved by Cabinet. 

The COVAX facility has committed to vaccinate 16 percent of the Jamaican population this year. 

“We fully appreciate the anxieties by the general populace, the objectives of normality return, that we need more and this is why the partnership is important because we can tap into each other’s resources, not just financial but the connections and the network to ensure that we move well beyond the 16 per cent in the short term,” the health minister asserted. 

Note: An earlier version of this story had said Sagicor will be assisting in sourcing and resourcing the acquisition of vaccines. In fact, it will be private sector groups including the PSOJ of which Sagicor is a member. 

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