Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Ministry will continue to be guided by the World Health Organization (WHO) as it relates to administering coronavirus (COVID-19 booster shots.
Speaking in the House of Representatives on November 30, Dr. Tufton said the WHO has still not recommended the administration of booster shots to the general population.
“However, an Interim Guidance on Vaccination for Severely Immunocompromised individuals by the WHO, has recommended that an additional dose of the COVID-19 vaccines be administered to persons who are likely to not have mounted an adequate immune response with one or two doses of the vaccine,” Dr. Tufton said.
This includes persons with active cancer, organ transplant recipients, persons with immunodeficiency diseases such as HIV and persons on immunosuppressive drugs.
“We announced this additional dose in early November and remind members of the public that the recommendation applies to persons who are severely immunocompromised and are in the vaccine-eligible age group,” Dr. Tufton said.
He informed that these persons are required to obtain a letter from their doctor stating their eligibility and take it to the vaccination site. Doctors who treat several of these patients should contact their parish health department to get access to the vaccines to administer to their patients.
The Health Minister noted that the manufacturer of the AstraZeneca vaccine has not yet recommended a booster dose, adding that the recommendation for boosters in the United Kingdom, European Union, Canada, Australia and the United States of America include the use of the Moderna, Pfizer and the Johnson & Johnson vaccines.
“Jamaica is currently in negotiation with suppliers to get enough of the Pfizer. We are expected to get two more shipments before the year is out. We are also discussing the possibility of Moderna as another brand and, of course, we have Johnson & Johnson in abundance with more to come. We will make a formal announcement as it relates to booster shots once we secure these [vaccines], hopefully in the near future,” Dr. Tufton said.