Two hundred thousand doses of the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine have arrived from the People’s Republic of China.
Of this number, 100,000 doses have been donated by the Government of China, while the remainder was purchased by the Jamaican Government.
The official handover ceremony was held on Wednesday (November 24), at Jamaica House.
In his address, Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, thanked the Government of China for lending its assistance to Jamaica’s COVID-19 containment efforts.
“These greatly appreciated Sinopharm vaccines demonstrate the value of the evolving relationship which Jamaica shares with China and is in keeping with the collective efforts to respond to an ever-changing environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
He urged unvaccinated persons to take advantage of the opportunity to become inoculated against the virus.
“The Sinopharm vaccines that we are receiving today will add yet another brand to the suite of vaccine options available to the Jamaican public. I encourage everyone to make the most of the opportunity and to ensure that they protect themselves and others, as we adjust to living with the virus. We have a collective responsibility in this endeavour and it is my hope that we make steady progress towards recognising the objective of full vaccination,” the Prime Minister added.
Meanwhile, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica, His Excellency Tian Qi, said the gesture represents the goodwill of the Chinese Government and people to support Jamaica’s response to the pandemic.
“We are glad to continue supporting our Jamaican friends and sharing our technology. Chinese medicines have been widely used in the world and proven safe and effective. We are sure it will assist Jamaica’s efforts to promote this vaccination programme to safeguard the safety and health of the Jamaican people,” he said.
For his part, Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, pointed to Jamaica’s diverse and comprehensive COVID-19 vaccination programme, noting that there is no barrier to persons getting vaccinated.
He reminded members of the public of their personal responsibility to ensure public safety by taking the vaccine.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, welcomed the addition to Jamaica’s COVID-19 vaccine arsenal.
“Know that your efforts have made the difference in providing Jamaicans with an important, traditional option for receiving vaccines,” the Minister said.
“I want to express my own personal thanks as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade to Ambassador Tian Qi for what we have been able to achieve, as partners and as friends, between our countries. We are looking forward to our continued friendly cooperation and strategic engagement in the interest of our people as we seek to recover from this pandemic, where we have recognised that no one is safe until everyone is safe,” she added.
The Sinopharm vaccine is produced by Beijing Bio-Institute of Biological Products Company Limited, a subsidiary of China National Biotec Group (CNBG).
The World Health Organization (WHO) on May 7, 2021 listed the Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use, giving the signal for the vaccine to be rolled out globally.
For information on the COVID-19 vaccination programme, persons can visit the Ministry of Health and Wellness website, https://www.moh.gov.jm.