The Government’s vaccination drive has been boosted through the donation of two mobile units by the Yantai Municipal People’s Government of the People’s Republic of China.
The vehicles, valued at ¥878,597 RMB, are already in operation and are being managed by the South East Regional Health Authority (SERHA).
Addressing the symbolic virtual handover ceremony on Thursday (September 30), Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, said that the mobile vaccination units have made stops at 12 sites across the island, to date.
“At each stop, we were able to vaccinate on average of 200 Jamaicans with a coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine,” he said, noting that five more sites are being targeted in the coming days.
In expressing gratitude for the units, Dr. Tufton said they will help Jamaica reach its vaccination target of 65 per cent of the population by March 2022.
He informed that the Ministry will be seeking to purchase additional units from the manufacturer for the island’s vaccination programme.
“I have been on the buses, toured, seen them in action, both in urban and rural settings, and I really have to commend the manufacturers for the quality of the product, the ease of use, the comfort that it offers to those who are using it,” he said.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, in her remarks, said that the donation of the units is a further demonstration of the close friendship and solidarity between the countries and will further boost the rollout of COVID-19 vaccinations.
“This donation also solidifies our special relationship with Yantai, with which the city of Kingston has been twinned since 2019… . The consistent assistance that China has provided towards Jamaica and our national goals and development, particularly in the area of public health, continues to be welcomed and very much appreciated,” she noted.
“This will bring us closer – along with the receipt in the near future of the Shinopharm vaccines – to achieving the vaccination targets set by the Government of Jamaica,” she added.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Jamaica, His Excellency Ambassador Tian Qi, said that the donation of the vehicles, as well as medical equipment, which will arrive in the island shortly, will further bolster the country’s response to the pandemic.
He noted that China has been doing its best to provide humanitarian assistance to the international community and supporting global anti-epidemic efforts and will be providing two billion doses of vaccines for the rest of the world by the end of this year.
Vice Mayor of Yantai, Mu Shuqing, noted that donation forms part of the cooperation between the countries and cities, while Deputy Director General of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC, Shandong Provincial Committee, Chen Baiwei, said that the city stands ready “[for] more practical cooperation [with Jamaica] in trade, agriculture, fisheries and people-to-people and cultural exchanges”.