The Government has put measures in place to facilitate the quick clearance of the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines, once they arrive on the island.
The first phase will cater to vulnerable and priority groups in the population.
It is expected that the vaccine will arrive in Jamaica by air, utilising the transport system in place for countries participating in the COVAX/Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Revolving Fund Facility.
Dr Tufton told the House that due to temperature sensitivity, the vaccines will be given special status by the Ministry personnel and the customs officers at the airport.
“This allows for timely clearance and transport to the central stores where they are checked by the programme officer and National Health Fund (NHF) warehouse staff to ascertain their condition,”
He noted that additional cold storage capacity will be required to meet needs at the central and parish levels.
“Each parish will need at least one additional vaccine fridge to accommodate the COVID-19 vaccine. At the central stores, an additional 10-20 freezers are needed,”
Dr Tufton assured that the Ministry is taking all the necessary steps to ensure that safe and effective vaccines are deployed.
Sites will be established at the following hospitals for the roll-out of vaccines to front-line staff: University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI); Bustamante Hospital for Children; National Chest Hospital; Spanish Town Hospital; Mandeville Regional Hospital; Cornwall Regional Hospital; and the St Ann’s Bay Regional Hospital.