Sun | Nov 28, 2021

Tufton weighs in on vaccine passport

Published:Wednesday | April 28, 2021 | 12:11 AM
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton reads the label on a shipment with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Monday. With the minister is the PAHO/WHO Country Representative for J
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton reads the label on a shipment with the AstraZeneca vaccine, which arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston on Monday. With the minister is the PAHO/WHO Country Representative for Jamaica, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands, Bernadette Theodore Gandi.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton says it is early days to determine whether there will be a need for persons travelling to have vaccine passports, to confirm if they have received the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

Responding to a question at the Norman Manley International Airport on Monday after the arrival of another 55,000 doses of the COVID-19 AstraZeneca vaccine through the COVAX Facility, the minister said “there’s a conversation that is taking place globally around a vaccine passport”.

“The truth is that the international community and the framework for movement of people has always had a public health component to it, which includes looking at infectious diseases, and where vaccines are an important response to that, persons have to show evidence that they have taken the vaccines,” Tufton said.

“So technically speaking, a system is in place, and I believe in this instance this may come in for COVID-19 also. I think it’s still early because the conversation is taking place, but if you are coming from a country with yellow fever to Jamaica, for example, you have to have a yellow fever card and, essentially, that is a passport to entry, so it’s not an unusual concept. In fact, it’s a very important concept,” he added.

Thousands of Jamaicans are in line to receive their second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine, beginning in May.