Jamaicans are about four months away from a COVID-19 vaccine, however only 16 per cent of the population will be getting the jab in 2021, according to Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton.
Tufton made the revelation as he provided an update to parliament on Tuesday (December 8).
According to Tufton, less than a quarter of the population would have access to the COVID-19 vaccine by the end of 2021.
Tufton said that a total of 16 per cent of Jamaicans were projected to be vaccinated for COVD-19 in 2021, with 1 percent of the population to receive the vaccine in April.
“Madam Speaker, the expectation is that in the first instance, Jamaica will vaccinate 16% of our population, with the goal to protect public health and minimise the economic impact by reducing COVID-19 mortality. The intention is to prioritise the vaccination of our health workers were at the very high risk of acquiring and transmitting the infection,” Tufton told the parliament.
“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. 1%, that is of the overall 16%, would get it initially. Another 3% by mid 2021. And the remaining percentage by the end of 2021,” added Tufton.
Tufton stressed that Jamaicans could not afford to become complacent as most Jamaicans would not have access to the vaccine in the short term.
“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. I mean, that is an ideal -an ideal that is not likely to be achieved, at least not in the short term,” said Tufton.
“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.
Tufton also used the occasion to note that the vaccine currently being administered, making reference to the Pfizer vaccine, was not apart of the COVAX facility, which the country is using to procure the treatment.