More than 17,000 doses of coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccinations have been administered to Jamaicans by private sector entities in collaboration with the government, since October 2021.
This was disclosed by State Minister in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Hon. Juliet Cuthbert Flynn, who expressed gratitude to these private entities that their partnership has helped to deal with vaccine hesitancy and increase take-up among citizens.
“It is good to see this kind of a partnership in this fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. We can’t do it alone. We need all hands on deck,” she said.
Mrs. Cuthbert Fynn was addressing the launch of the Private Sector COVID-19 Vaccine Administration Partnership at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in New Kingston on Friday (Feb. 25).
This new partnership arrangement will see the government collaborating with nine private sector health organisations to assist with the administration of COVID-19 vaccines. Grant funding for the joint venture in the amount of US$600,000, is being provided by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
The State Minister Cuthbert Flynn said this new partnership is another “step in our ongoing efforts to vaccinate the Jamaican population and to help to prevent severe illness and death associated with COVID-19”.
She informed that contracts were signed last September to increase vaccination access points in collaboration with private health facilities, including hospitals, health centres, doctors’ offices and pharmacies.
“We are signing a second set of contracts to further…support the vaccination of Jamaicans with these (nine) entities which have chosen to further their collaboration with us on the implementation and strengthening of the national vaccination programme,” she said.
The private sector providers awarded grants are Health Connect Jamaica, Fontana Pharmacy, Fairco Medical and Dermatology Centre, Erudite Medical Centre, HealthPlus Pharmacy Limited, Bethel Baptist Church, Windsor Wellness Centre, Online Medics and Vein Centers of Jamaica.
The grants will support the private health sector’s capacity to deliver required services related to COVID-19 vaccine administration, including appointment and registration; counselling; post-vaccination observation; documentation and reporting; and waste management.
Under this new public/private partnership, the government aims to increase equitable access to and the uptake of COVID-19 vaccines, reduce morbidity and mortality from COVID-19; and strengthen the private health sector capacity to effectively respond to the COVID-19 pandemic while maintaining essential health services.
In his remarks, USAID/Jamaica Country Representative Jason Fraser, said the organisation is committed to supporting the Government of Jamaica in addressing urgent needs and filling gaps in order to accelerate widespread equitable access, delivery and up-take of safe and effective COVID-19 vaccines.
“This partnership sets the stage for USAID to continue to work closely with the Government of Jamaica and key stakeholders in Jamaica, including the private sector, to scale up vaccine uptake among Jamaicans and deal with vaccine hesitancy and strengthen the country’s pandemic response now and in the future,” he said.
Mr. Fraser said the grants will allow Jamaicans “from all walks of life,” to access life-saving COVID-19 vaccines from the private sector free of charge.
The grants, which will support the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ Outsourcing of Vaccination Administration Plan, were awarded as part of the USAID-funded Local Health Systems Sustainability Project (LHSS), led by Abt Associates, which seeks to strengthen the capacity of Jamaica’s private health sector response to COVID-19 and reduce strain on the public sector.
The government is seeking to administer 75,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines through ongoing collaboration with the private sector.
To date, over 1.3 million doses have been administered overall, covering approximately 20 per cent of the population.