Tauna Thomas reports.

Healthcare workers and persons with pre-existing health conditions should be prioritised in the 20 per cent of the population to access a successful COVID-19 vaccine.

That’s the recommendation from the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA.

The organisation through funding from the European Union, EU, and assistance from PAHO has helped member countries like Jamaica to make a full down payment to access a successful vaccine for 20 per cent of the population.

Jamaica is a participant in the COVAX Facility.

The Facility was established by the World Health Organisation.

It’s the only global initiative that’s working with governments and manufacturers to ensure COVID-19 vaccines are available worldwide to both higher-and lower-income countries.

Payment has already been made in full to ensure 20-per cent of Jamaica’s population has access to a successful COVID-19 vaccine.

The island will be left to fund the other 80 per cent.

Assistant Director at PAHO, Dr Jarbas Barbosa, is recommending that the 20 per cent include frontline workers.

He was speaking during a virtual media conference hosted by CARPHA this morning.

Head of Cooperation at the EU, Luis Maia says about a million doses will be available to member states in the initial stages.

Ten vaccines are in the final stages of clinical trials.

Executive Director at CARPHA, Dr. Joy St. John, says over US$ 2million in down payment has been made for access to an approved vaccine.

Meanwhile, Dr. St. John responded to Journalists who asked if the 20- per cent funding wasn’t a drop in the bucket.

Assistant Director at PAHO, Dr Jarbas Barbosa also said the down payment for 20 per cent of the population wasn’t due to financial strains.

Dr. St. John says there’s currently an estimated cost of $US10 per dose for the vaccine.

Dr. Joy St. John, Executive Director at CARPHA.