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  • Jamaica has so far, received 64,400 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to facilitate the Government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, now underway.
  • He pointed out that orders which have been negotiated require a lead time of several weeks to be delivered, while adding that “the situation here is even more uncertain”.
  • “It is not the end of the journey, but the end is in sight. This Government will continue its wise and judicious management of your affairs, protecting both life and livelihoods,” Mr. Holness stated.

Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says the Government is pursuing bilateral and commercial options to acquire additional COVID-19 vaccines, to supplement supplies already delivered to Jamaica or which are slated to arrive over the forthcoming months.

Jamaica has so far, received 64,400 doses of the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine to facilitate the Government’s COVID-19 vaccination programme, now underway.

These include: 50,000 donated by the Government of India, and 14,400 acquired through the World Health Organization’s (WHO) COVID-19 Vaccines Global Access (COVAX) Facility.

Speaking during the 2021/22 Budget Debate in the House of Representatives on March 18, Mr. Holness pointed out that there is a global shortage of COVID-19 vaccines, noting that production capacity has not yet caught up with demand.

He added that the capacity which exists, “has been reserved by rich countries”.

The Prime Minister said while Jamaica has commitments by virtue of the country’s participation in COVAX and the African Medical Supplies Platform, “we are always mindful that the supply situation is dynamic and may change suddenly”.

He pointed out that orders which have been negotiated require a lead time of several weeks to be delivered, while adding that “the situation here is even more uncertain”.

“However, we expect to continue receiving small amounts but sufficient supplies to keep our vaccination programme active. The supply situation should begin to stabilize and have greater certainty in June, as more vaccines are approved [by the WHO] and more production capacity is brought online,” he assured.

Mr. Holness said based on this scenario, “we still have a few more months ahead of us for the strict maintenance of protocols”.

This, he underscored, meant that everyone must adhere to the infection prevention and control measures, including wearing masks, physical distancing, and avoiding unnecessary movement.

The Prime Minister further said “[it] means we must be very careful with the supplies we have and use [them] where it matters most”.

“It is not the end of the journey, but the end is in sight. This Government will continue its wise and judicious management of your affairs, protecting both life and livelihoods,” Mr. Holness stated.

The Prime Minister delivered his Budget presentation under the theme: ‘Recovery: Faster, Stronger, Better’.

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