Thu | Jun 24, 2021

Golding accuses Holness of 'gross negligence' over vaccine procurement

Published:Tuesday | February 23, 2021 | 3:58 PM
Golding has suggested that a COVID-19 vaccination czar be appointment with full time responsibility to oversee the inoculation of Jamaicans. (Kenyan Hemans/photographer)

Opposition Leader Mark Golding went on the attack today with a broadside against the Government, saying it has been grossly negligent in procuring COVID-19 vaccines for Jamaicans.

Golding, speaking at a media conference at his West King’s House Road offices on Tuesday, expressed strong dissatisfaction with the Government’s handling of the exercise. 

With it appearing that Jamaica may miss the February timeline Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton had announced for the arrival of the vaccines in the island, Golding said this highlights that there is a breakdown in leadership in the Andrew Holness-led administration. 

“Other countries have solicited gifts of vaccine and started to roll out their vaccination programmes to their populations. Jamaica is very late. The Government is guilty of gross negligence in this critical matter,” Golding charged.

Tufton had said that Jamaica would receive approximately 140,000 doses of vaccines from COVAX and up to 249,000 of the AstraZeneca vaccines by mid-February. 

However, he recently disclosed that there might be some delays. 

Barbados received 100,000 vials of vaccines from India a week ago, although, at the time, the vaccines were not approved by the World Health Organization for emergency use. 

Out of that quantity, Barbados has doled out a few thousand to its closest neighbours including Trinidad and Tobago which received 2,000. 

Dominica has also received 70,000 as a gift from India as well. 

On Sunday, Indian High Commissioner to Jamaica Rungsung Masakui said AstraZeneca vaccines produced in his country would be arriving in Jamaica shortly.  

Golding, in piling on the pressure on the Holness administration, urged that international connections be leveraged to procure the vaccines for the Jamaicans.

“As leader of the country, it was, and remains, the prime minister’s job to use all his power and influence and network to procure an adequate supply of vaccines for the country,” Golding contended. 

Golding has suggested that a COVID-19 vaccination czar be appointment with full time responsibility to oversee the inoculation of Jamaicans.

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