(CMR) Jamaicans are unlikely to get the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine currently being administered in the UK.
Jamaica's health minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, said that the Pfizer vaccine was not part of the COVAX facility that the island is using to procure the shots.
“The vaccine being administered in other jurisdictions is not part of the COVAX facility. But there are three other vaccine candidates that are in the final phases of development, ” said Tufton.
Tufton explained the COVAX facility had not yet approved a vaccine but noted that there were approximately 163 candidate vaccines in preclinical evaluations, three of which could become available in short order.
However, Tufton, cautioned Jamaicans against thinking that a potential vaccine in sight meant that the masses could disregard the COVID-19 protocols.
“I want us to be very clear that we can't hang all of our hopes and afford to be complacent on the knowledge or the hope that there is going to be a vaccine very soon, and that most persons are going to have access to it,” said Tufton.
“I mean, that is an ideal – but an ideal that is not likely to be achieved, at least not in the short term,” added Tufton.
Tufton explained that only 1 per cent of the population would be vaccinated by April 2021, with a total of 16 percent by the year's end.
“The projected schedule, as we have it at this time, and I say it's projected because it can change is to have a vaccine ready for administration to some 1% of the initial 16 percent of the population by April 2021,” said Tufton.
Tufton shared that he believed that it would be approximately another year before the pandemic would actually be over for Jamaicans.
“The fact is, we have another year or so before I think we will be in a position where the world can breathe a sigh of relief that based on vaccination as a solution, significant progress would have been made,” added Tufton.