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16 per cent of population projected to receive COVID vaccine next year

Published:Tuesday | December 8, 2020 | 6:44 PM
Tufton: "We have another year or so before, I think, we will be in a position where the world can breathe a sigh of relief."

Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton says by the end of next year, 16 per cent of the Jamaican population is projected to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

Speaking in parliament on Tuesday, Tufton said of the 16 per cent, one per cent would receive the vaccine by April 2021, another three per cent by mid-2021 and the remaining 12 per cent by the end of the year.

He said health workers and the elderly, particularly those with underlying conditions, would be given priority.

"We have another year or so before, I think, we will be in a position where the world can breathe a sigh of relief, where, based on vaccination as a solution, a significant progress would have been made," said Tufton.

As a result, the minister said it is important for Jamaicans to remain vigilant and adhere to all COVID protocols.

He said the Government is in the process of procuring the vaccines through the COVID-19 Global Access (COVAX) Facility.

As of December 2, there were some 51 vaccine candidates in clinical evaluation, 11 of whom are in phase three and a further 163 candidate vaccines in pre-clinical evaluation, Tufton said.

Jamaica is among CARICOM member states on whose behalf a down payment has been made by the Caribbean Public Health Agency for equitable access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine.

Today, a retired British shop clerk received the first shot in the country’s COVID-19 vaccination programme at the start of an unprecedented global immunisation effort.

READ: UK gives first COVID-19 vaccine doses

Jamaica’s COVID deaths now stand at 256, with active cases being at 3,561 and the total case count at 11,271.

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