(CMR) Jamaicans will no longer have to wait until April to get vaccinated as the country will receive its first shipment of COVID-19 vaccines this month.
According to the Jamaica Information Service, the Government was advised by the COVAX Facility that the country would receive between 146,400 and 249,600 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines by mid to late February 2021.
The country had initially expected to get the coronavirus vaccine in April.
Minister of Health and Wellness Dr. Christopher Tufton said this means that some 125,000 Jamaicans could receive vaccines by the end of February into March.
Among those to receive the vaccines are front-line workers, including nurses and doctors, and then vulnerable persons, including persons 60 years and older.
“The availability of this vaccine is, of course, subject to the World Health Organization (WHO) Emergency Use Listing and the indicative amount is based on the current communication from the manufacturers, Serum Institute of India and SK Bioscience,” Dr. Tufton said.
Tufton said if additional supplies under the COVAX arrangement were received, approximately 450,000 Jamaicans could be vaccinated by the end of the year.
However, he cautioned that the allocation of the vaccine could be adjusted upward or downward depending on global circumstances and any challenges manufacturers may encounter.
“But, to date, so far so good [as the] commitments have remained true and this latest correspondence that we have received is an indication of confidence in the process to deliver on the commitments that we have signed on to,” Tufton said.