“There are no ifs”: Tufton says he will take COVID vaccine

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton

While it is unclear when Jamaica will receive its first batch of the AstraZeneca vaccine, Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, said he will be getting the jab. 

Tufton made the declaration as he reposted a Jamaica Observer cartoon which depicted him in a white gown with a vaccine syringe standing next to a lady, representing Jamaica, with a speech bubble that reads, “You first”. 

“There are no ifs, buts or maybe – I WILL be taking the COVID-19 vaccine,” said Tufton who reposted the cartoon on his Instagram profile. 

Where are the vaccines?

Speaking at a digital press briefing on Tuesday (February 23) Tufton veered away from a journalist’s question about the arrival of the first doses of the vaccine on island. 

Picking up on Tufton’s failure to answer the question, a blogger asked a similar question to which Tufton said the vaccines were expected to arrive at the end of the month, which he previously shared in Parliament.

He said, “There are a number of initiatives being pursued as it relates to securing vaccines. The ones that are perhaps most known would be the COVAX facility, which is a pool that signed on to involving the World Health Organization, PAHO, which would secure for us a certain quantity 400, equivalent to 450,000 Jamaicans over a period of time. And the latest correspondence, as you know, which I made public in Parliament that we got from that facility, was that they were looking at up to the end of this month to begin,” said Tufton. 

“A lot has been said, since that public space around quantities that are committed, and the amounts that they can get, and maybe they have to revise some of those timelines and so on. So it is really difficult, as much as I would like to provide specific dates, the issue around vaccines and the global discussions, occupying the space around vaccines, and, you know buzzwords, like vaccines, nationalism, and vaccine diplomacy and, and all of that is creating some amount of uncertainty in the marketplace,” added Tufton.