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Chinese in Ja want green light for Sinopharm vaccine

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Chinese in Ja want green light for Sinopharm vaccine

Reluctant to reveal the brands, Ennis said the country should expect a variety among the vaccines set to arrive in the country

In the meantime, Wu, who penned a letter under the signature ‘Chinese Community of Jamaica’ two days ago, said they were willing to raise the funds needed to purchase the commodity

WESTERN BUREAU:

Jamaica’s Ministry of Health and Wellness is not averse to helping the Chinese to import their state-owned COVID-19 vaccine Sinopharm into the island if asked to assist.

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Director of Family Health Services at the health ministry, Dr Melody Ennis, confirmed to The Gleaner on Thursday that she wasn’t aware there were 76,000 Chinese residing here.

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The majority of them are yet to be vaccinated, as they have been awaiting approval of the drug made in their country. And now that the World Health Organisation (WHO) has placed the vaccine on their approved list, they are calling on the Jamaican Government to do the same.

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“We would prefer to wait for our own vaccine to be vaccinated, because we have confidence in the Chinese vaccine, not only for ourselves, but also for Jamaicans. Our vaccine is very safe, we have not heard of any high risks associated with it,” Jessica Wu, the spokesperson for Chinese Community of Jamaica told The Gleaner .

She confirmed that their numbers were more than 76,000. Chinese who have taken the jab are about 20 per cent of the construction workers employed here temporarily. Approximately 2,000 Chinese workers are employed to the construction companies plying their trade here.

The Gleaner also spoke with the heads of the three main Chinese associations on the island: Dongguang, Guangdong and Fujiang and Ziping Cheng, Stephen Chen and Lijin Zhang, who all echoed the same sentiments. “We are awaiting the arrival of the Sinopharm.”

WHO approval The WHO approved the vaccine for emergency use in May, however, it has not yet made it on Jamaica’s list which has approved AstraZeneca, Moderna, Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer.

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Sinopharm was expected to boost the COVAX pipeline of which Jamaica is a signatory

The WHO recommends the product for all ages above 18, estimating the drug has a 79 per cent efficacy rate. Some 101 countries are reportedly using the vaccine, with Caribbean nations such as Trinidad and Tobago, the Dominican Republic, Barbados and Antigua among those who have administered the drug to their citizens.

According to Ennis, the Chinese Community of Jamaica should make its request known to the foreign affairs ministry, as Jamaica continues its talks with Chinese entities, because she was not aware of the Government not wanting to accept Sinopharm

She clarified that the Caribbean countries using the vaccine started doing so long before the WHO gave the approval, however, Jamaica has certain standards and agreements that it abides by

“We can now look at bringing it in for them as a targeted group,” she told The Gleaner , adding that Jamaica’s vaccine worries were also coming to an end as vaccines were expected to arrive in the island starting this weekend and would take the island to the next quarter.

Reluctant to reveal the brands, Ennis said the country should expect a variety among the vaccines set to arrive in the country

In the meantime, Wu, who penned a letter under the signature ‘Chinese Community of Jamaica’ two days ago, said they were willing to raise the funds needed to purchase the commodity.

According to the group, they wanted access to Sinopharm not only for themselves, but also for any Jamaican who might need the vaccine

Jamaica has been one of many countries in the region fighting for vaccine equity as the first-world nations hoard the life-saving drug. Of particular concern was the lagged roll-out in developing countries, Minister of Tourism Edmund Bartlett lamented earlier this year

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