Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says that the Government is moving quickly to name the committee to oversee the introduction of a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine in Jamaica.
He said with the news that a vaccine may shortly become available, it is “very urgent that we move quickly to get this up and running”, noting that the members will include clinical experts within the Ministry as well as private-sector players.
Dr. Tufton, who was addressing the sitting of the House of Representatives on Tuesday (December 1), noted that vaccination has proven to be an undeniable success in the public health toolkit to reduce the burden of infectious diseases.
He noted that already, the Ministry has in draft a plan to manage the introduction of a vaccine in the country, the tenets of which include public education, distribution and clinical management.
He said that the committee to be established will have the participation of logics planning and social behaviour experts “to manage the behaviour change intervention that must accompany the implementation”.
Jamaica is among the CARICOM member states on whose behalf a down payment has been made by the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) for equitable access to a safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine through the COVID-19 Global Access Facility (COVAX Facility). Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton has recommended the re-establishment of the Special Select Committee of Parliament to oversee Jamaica’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The committee, which was announced in March, was dissolved due to the General Election in September.
Dr. Tufton said the reappointment of members to the committee is critical in keeping the management of the pandemic at the forefront of all activities.