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Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says Jamaica is to receive approximately 145,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine this week.
Of the total, 45,630 doses are being donated by the Government of Suriname while 100,620 doses were purchased through the COVAX Facility.
Dr. Tufton said that administration of the Pfizer vaccine is expected to commence on Monday, November 1 with priority being given to more than 80,000 persons awaiting their second dose.
“So, if you have not gotten a dose, you should not try to get a dose of the Pfizer vaccine at this point in time… there are others out there – AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, and we encourage you to take one of those. But the [approximately] 80,000 persons who are waiting on their second dose, who are all due… you will now have the opportunity to take the second dose of the Pfizer starting Monday,” he said.
He was addressing the Ministry’s virtual COVID Conversations press conference on Tuesday (October 26).
Dr. Tufton encouraged those persons waiting on their second dose to make an appointment through the Ministry’s web portal at www.moh.gov.jm or through the toll-free number, 888-ONE-LOVE, beginning Thursday, October 28.
He pointed out that the Pfizer vaccine will be administered based on the appointments.
“If you don’t have an appointment, it is best not to turn up, because we are prioritising second dosers. We will stock at locations the number of vaccines that are linked to an appointment,” he said.
“We are trying to avoid the rush because we know there is some anxiety out there and… over the next week, maybe two, all the persons who are due their second dose, will be able to get their second dose during this period of time,” he assured.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton informed that the remaining allocation of the Pfizer vaccine from the United States (US) should arrive in early November.
The country received 200,000 doses of Pfizer from the US in August, representing the first tranche of approximately 600,000 doses, which will further bolster the COVID-19 vaccination programme.
Dr. Tufton noted that after the second doses have been distributed, Pfizer vaccines will be reserved for children, aged 12 to 18, in anticipation of the resumption of face-to-face classes.
“For persons who do not fall in that category, I am going to urge, do not attempt to secure. Please understand that the health team is carrying out the policies of the Government… and that will be the approach that will be adopted for the Pfizer brand, beyond the second dosers who are due,” he said.
The Pfizer vaccine has been proven to be safe and is approved for use in children and adolescents.