The Government is finalising an implementation plan for coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine rollout, as soon as one is approved for distribution in Jamaica.
This was disclosed by Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, who indicated that prior to the vaccine’s arrival, “we have to sensitise the public, we have to sensitise our healthcare practitioners, and we have to look at the actual logistics in getting the vaccine out”.
She was speaking during the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ weekly virtual COVID Conversations press conference on Thursday (November 12).
Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie also advised that health workers on the front line of Jamaica’s fight against the coronavirus (COVID-19) will be among the first recipients of the vaccine.
She said its distribution in Jamaica will be along the lines of the influenza plan, noting that persons deemed most vulnerable and at risk of spreading the virus, “which [include] our healthcare workers, are the persons who would initially be catered for”.
Meanwhile, Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO) Assistant Director, Dr. Jarbas Barbosa da Silva, who was a guest at the press conference, said 11 vaccines are currently undergoing phase-three clinical trials, which is the final stage of the development process.
He advised that by year end, the findings of one or more are expected to be released and published, adding that, if the vaccine development process is successful, then distribution should begin by as early as March 2021.
“We expect by the end of November, end of December, many of these 11 vaccines that are already in the final phase will publish the data, and they will request to receive their licence. If everything goes well, the licence is, afterwards, awarded [for the manufacturers] to produce the vaccine and start deploying it,” he said.
He assured that every country, including Jamaica, which has joined the COVID-19 Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility), will receive the vaccine.