JM | Oct 22, 2021

Opposition urging action on AstraZeneca take up before Oct 31 expiry date

/ Our Today

Dr Morais Guy, opposition spokesperson on health and wellness. (Photo: Facebook @Morais.Guy.3)

Dr Morais Guy, opposition spokesman on health and wellness, is urging the Government to immediately create
and implement appropriate new strategies for an accelerated take up of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine, as existing stocks of 150,000 are set to expire in less than 10 days.

In a statement today (October 22), Guy said mixing and matching vaccine brands is a low hanging fruit, as within the more than 100,000 Jamaican adults who took the Pfizer vaccine, there are many who are overdue for second doses.

However, he said, since the Government is unable to confirm dates for Pfizer shipments, such persons should be
offered the AstraZeneca.

Guy said such a decision was timely, as the United States two days ago joined several European countries in either approving or accepting the use of mixed vaccines.

Guy recalled that at the COVID-19 parliamentary committee meeting in June, the Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health said the health ministry would not adopt such a policy as it had not been recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO).

A man displays his vaccination card after receiving his first AstraZeneca dose in April. (Our Today photo/Gavin Riley)

He said that, with the approval for mixing and matching by the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA), the way should now be clear for Jamaica to adopt such a policy. The Opposition spokesman that, in the past, Jamaica has relied on FDA approval of several drugs for use in the local market.

He reminded that last month, in a media interview, he had also recommended the use of mixed vaccines in line with other jurisdictions.

These now include the US, UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

Guy said all stops should be pulled out by the Government to ensure that all expiring AstraZeneca vaccines in Jamaica are used up before the imminent expiry date.

He called for full mobilisation of medical professionals to work along with the Ministry of Health and Wellness to ensure a national effort to use up the vaccines.

A public health nurse administers a COVID-19 vaccine to a beneficiary during a vaccination drive organised by the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights in Maverley Park, St Andrew on October 2. The team immunised 189 persons during the event.

He said all the existing barriers and logistical issues must be cleared in order to make the process simpler.

“One of these barriers is the mandatory provision of a TRN to access vaccination, even if citizens furnish a government issued identification,” he said.

Guy reminded of national surveys which show that more than 30 per cent of Jamaicans were eager to be vaccinated, yet only 12 per cent have been done to date, while at the same time, tens of thousands of the precious vaccines have already been dumped with the possibility of more staring the country in the face.


What To Read Next