The first public crack in the government’s vaccination policy is emerging.
The Member of Parliament for East Rural St. Andrew, Juliet Holness, has criticized the Health Ministry’s management of the programme.
She says the Ministry has been flip flopping on its own policy directives.
Mrs. Holness told Parliament’s Public Administration and Appropriations Committee today that the Ministry has contributed to the poor vaccine take up in the country.
The two term MP says had the Health Ministry stuck to it’s original directive of administering the Pfizer Vaccine for children only, there would be greater take up of the AztraZeneca branded jab.
Wayne Walker tells us more.
The national vaccination program is under scrutiny with the slow take up rate of vaccines. And with vaccine hesitancy taking hold, the country is facing the embarrassing prospect of dumping thousands more vaccines as their expiration dates approach.
55-thousand doses of the AztraZeneca vaccine have expired will be dumped.
The first public sign of dissent in the Holness administration over the management of the program emerged today in the Parliament.
It came from Mrs. Holness – the Prime Minister’s wife.
She says her best efforts to encourage the take up of the AstraZeneca Vaccine were undercut by Health Ministry personnel who offered up the Pfizer to those who preferred that brand.
When the initial doses of the Pfizer Branded Covid-19 vaccine arrived on the island the Government stated it would be reserved for children to allow for the resumption of face to face classes.
It’s the only jab currently approved by the World Health Organization for the inoculation of those under 18 years old.
However, the health officials deviated from this policy and administered the doses to adults as well.
This led to a shortage of the jab and forced a delay in many who took the Pfizer brand from receiving their second dose.
Mrs. Holness says this contributes to confusion.
The government has been forced to discard more than 50,000 doses of the AztraZeneca vaccine which reached the end of their shelf life last Thursday..
However, Mrs. Holness says Jamaicans must take the vaccine and not fall into a false sense of security in believing the country has got past the worst of the pandemic.