Prime Minister Andrew Holness has announced that when a safe vaccine is approved, the Government will make it freely available to all Jamaicans who wish to obtain it.
Speaking this afternoon at a press conference to update the nation on the Government’s management of Covid-19, Prime Minister Holness explained that Jamaica is a part of the World Health Organization Covid-19 Global Access Facility, called COVAX.
The facility is designed to accelerate equitable access to appropriate, safe, and effective vaccines by countries globally.
In that regard, he asserted that the Government does not take risks with the health of the citizens.
“Jamaica has been very conservative and very cautious in approving and using new medicines vaccines tests, we have an Ethics Committee in the Ministry of Health. They maintain a very high standard, and they also align their approvals with the highest authorities on these matters in the world, WHO and PAHO. SO we are not taking any risks with the health of the people, so once a vaccine an available, we look at it, we study it, and we conclude it is safe, then we will make it available to all who would want to vaccine,” said Prime Minister Holness
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness asserted that a lockdown is not a sustainable approach to managing the Covid-19 pandemic at this time as that will have a devastating impact on the economy and livelihoods of Jamaicans. He noted that unless there is a fundamental change in the behaviour of the individual, the same situation will occur after the lockdown has been lifted.
According to Prime Minister Holness, the most appropriate strategy now is to heighten public education and communication to generate a significant behaviour change in individuals.
“Lockdown remains a tool in the toolbox to control the pandemic, but from the perspective of the Government, that is not a tool that we should use now. The tool that we must use now is to heighten public education, communication, moral suasion, and enforcement to generate a significant behaviour change in individuals, our citizens, our Jamaican people. Once we have that, if an event were to happen outside of all our effort, notwithstanding our efforts then you could apply a lockdown with the certainty that stopping movement, closing borders, and generally shutting down all activity, that once you bring it back under control, the people understand, are compliant, are situationally aware that lifting the lockdown will not see our population going back into complacency and careless behaviour,” said Prime Minister Holness.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness urged citizens to fact check information by doing research online before believing and circulating on social media. He also added that the Government aims to promote Jamaicans learning to live with the Covid-19 pandemic and faithfully follow the measures that have been recommended.