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Hefty US $8.2M for COVID-19 vaccine, Jamaica has already made down payment

An 8.2 million USD price tag is the amount Jamaica will have to pay in order to procure the COVID-19 vaccine.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie made the revelation during a sitting of the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee (PAAC) on Thursday (December 3).

According to Bisasor-McKenzie a twenty percent down payment has already been made with the assistance of Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).

“Well, for this 15% of vaccines we are procuring through the facility at a reduced cost. And we’re supported through the Caribbean Public Health Agency who has put forward some funds to assist with that initial down payment; where we’ve had to pay a 20% down payment, so we would have made that down payment already ” explained Bisasor McKenzie.

When asked by PAAC Chairman Dr Wykeham McNeill, what the overall subsidised cost would be, Bisasor-McKenzie differed to Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health, Dunstan Bryan, who explained that it would cost a total of $8.2 million US.

“So the subsidised cost for the 20% is around 8.2 million US dollars. And we have had the initial deposit of about $1.1 million through CARPHA,” said Bryan.

“And so, the balance we are programming for fiscal year 2021-2022,” added Bryan.

Bryan, however, could not say definitively, if the cost shared accounted for the second phase of vaccinations.

“Now, the first phase, we are anticipating to last a good six months or so because remember, you have to first give the first dose and then there’s a period of time that you get a second dose. And then you go into the whole rollout of the second phase. We are not anticipating that we would get the first dose of the virus until about, the vaccine sorry,” said Bryan, which evoked a chuckle from McNeil.

Bryan went on to complete his thought, explaining that it wouldn’t be until after the first phase, set to begin in first quarter of the fiscal year, that the cost would be known.

Bisasor-McKenzie again took the floor to explain that the vaccines without the subsidy would cost about US $30 per dose, noting that the subsidy made the jab available at around US $10.55 per dose.

She further explained that going into the second phase of the roll out, the country may not be able to procure the vaccine at the same price.

“What I’m trying to establish, you know, so the first is going to be heavily subsidised. The second, we’re not sure yet what the subsidy, if any, will be bought at the subsidised first first dose that we get will be at what 8 million US dollars. So it is not a cheap undertaking, by any means at all,” said McNeil.

Bisasor -McKnezie further explained that Jamaica was a part of the COVID-19 Vaccine Global Access (COVAX) Facility which aims at ensuring that all countries, whether great or small, have access to the vaccine at a reasonable cost.

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