TEN months after Caricom secured access to Africa Medical Supplies Platform for covid19 vaccines, Jamaica is set to become the first member state to receive vaccines from it on Wednesday.
Jamaica was also the first Caricom country to receive vaccines through Covax.
In June 2020, then Caricom chairman Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced the arrangement.
She said, "We have seen supplies being withheld from transshipment, and our relatively small populations put us at a disadvantage for successful optimal procurement of needed supplies. We therefore welcome this opportunity which has become available through inter-regional discussion. This underlines the strength of the relationship between Africa and Caricom.”
In a covid19-related press conference in early March, Jamaica's health minister Dr Christopher Tufton said 1.8 million doses of the vaccine were expected to arrive in the country throughout April.
In a release last Wednesday, the chairman of Jamaica's National Health Fund (NHF) Howard Mitchell said 75,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine would arrive within the "next five days."
He said, "These shipments totalling 121,000 doses of covid19 vaccines should ensure NHF's ability to distribute vaccines through April into May 2021, until the supply chain for covid19 vaccines stabilises.
"Notwithstanding these and other difficulties, Jamaica, through the concerted efforts of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs And Foreign Trade, the Ministry of Health And Wellness, the NHF, and with the goodwill and support of our African colleagues and the WHO (World Health Organization), is managing to obtain further vaccine supplies from several sources to allow us to continue the rollout of our inoculation plan."
Trinidad and Tobago will also receive some 426,000 vaccines through this platform, but a date is yet to be announced.
The latest from Health Minister Terrence Deyalsingh was that the ministry is "in talks" with the platform