Jamaica negotiating for equal access to COVID-19 vaccine

Foreign affairs minister Kamina Johnson Smith says Jamaica is in discussions through PAHO with the COVAX vaccination programme to ensure that when a vaccine is available for COVID-19, Jamaica is not at a disadvantage in accessing the vaccine.

The negotiations, which involves other developing countries, is to ensure that there is a level playing field for access, she said.

Johnson Smith was speaking in her capacity as the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) campaign spokesperson at a press conference called by the party at Belmont Road this afternoon.

“This is an important process and Jamaica has been engaged with bilateral partners and regionally at the technical level and we have also had discussions with international partners at the bilateral political level so that when developments come on stream we would have put Jamaica in the best place possible to have access,” she stated.

The World Health Organization (WHO) says the COVAX Facility, and its Advance Market Commitment guarantees rapid, fair and equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines for all countries.

In July the WHO said the interest expressed to COVAX by governments representing more than 60 per cent of the world’s population offers “tremendous vote of confidence” in the effort to ensure global access to COVID-19 vaccines when they’re developed.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness tweeted earlier today that as soon as a tested safe vaccine is available a new JLP government will ensure that it is made available and free to every Jamaican.

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