It is with a personal sense of encouragement and relief that I spotted a tweet from our Minister of Health and Wellness Christopher Tufton this quiet, curfewed Sunday afternoon. Another shipment of vaccines has arrived… My husband is due for his second dose this week, and hopefully myself soon after.
Now “vaccine equity” is becoming a matter of concern for our government, especially in light of its planned “opening up” of the tourism sector. Both the Prime Minister and the Tourism Minister have spoken about it in the past few days. The latter got quite carried away with Bob Marley lyrics in his comments:
“Tourism recovery cannot mean recovery for certain countries in Europe and North America and not for the Philippines, the Maldives, the Caribbean, countries in the Indian Ocean and Africa for example… We are concerned because like Bob Marley said, there can be absolutely no equity and justice unless we all are together in this struggle. His words resonate because he made the point very well that what will happen to recovery will be a fleeting illusion to be pursued but never attained.”Jamaica Information Service
According to Reuters, who maintain a global, regularly updated statistical COVID-19 charts on basically everywhere:
Jamaica has administered at least 164,703 doses of COVID-19 vaccine so far. Assuming every person needs two doses [which they do] that’s enough to have vaccinated about 2.8 percent of the country’s population.Reuters World Coronavirus Tracker and Maps/Countries and Territories
According to the Health Ministry, 8 percent of the target population (over 50s and others) have received their first dose. Whichever way you look at it, we have a ways to go. And we need more vaccines.
Here’s the Ministry’s press release.
55, 200 Doses of COVID-19 Vaccines Arrive in Jamaica
Kingston, Jamaica, Sunday, May 30, 2021: Jamaica has received another batch of COVID-19 vaccine manufactured by AstraZeneca. Some 55, 200 doses of the COVID-19 Vaccine arrived in the island today, Sunday, May 30, at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston. This batch represents another allocation from the COVAX Facility.
The COVAX (COVID-19 Global Access) Facility co-led by the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI), Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, and the World Health Organization (WHO), brings together governments, global health organisations, manufacturers, scientists, private sector, civil society, and philanthropy to provide innovative and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines. In the Americas, the PAHO Revolving Fund is the recognized procurement agent for the COVAX facility.
The arrival of new vaccines will be added to the pool of vaccines being used in the National Vaccination Implementation Programme to inoculate persons, who are due their second dose, as well as the persons who are being targeted to be vaccinated. Currently Jamaicans 50 years and older, healthcare workers, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF), Jamaica Defence Force (JDF), Jamaica Fire Brigade and staff members from the Passport, Immigration & Citizenship Agency (PICA), Jamaica Customs Agency and Department of Correctional Services are eligible to be vaccinated based on the implementation plan.
As at Friday, May 28, 2021, approximately 155,683 Jamaicans have received the first dose of the COVID-19 Vaccine, representing 8% of the target population (1,924,759), while 22,206 persons have received their second dose.