The Ministry of Health has held discussions with the Medical Association of Jamaica (MAJ) to address challenges outlined by private doctors who have expressed interest in administering the COVID-19 vaccine. MAJ President Dr. Brian James said 46 doctors have cold storage facilities and are ready to start vaccination. However, he said, despite the doctors expressing willingness to administer the vaccine, they had not been given the greenlight by the ministry. The MAJ President noted that following Wednesday’s meeting, more private doctors are set to join the COVID-19 vaccination programme. “We did identify some teething pains in the process and there were agreements that were brokered on how we were going to proceed in order to make this thing go a bit more smoothly,” he explained. “The main issue is that the doctors were not happy with the conditions. They thought it was a bit too onerous in order to get on board. There was some element of that, but I didn’t get the impression from the meeting that that was the major factor. There were other issues involved. There were logistic problems. There were communication issues certainly in terms of where the contact should come from – should it come from the doctors or should it come from the health authorities in the various parishes. So we had an agreement as to how we’re going to move forward.” Dr. Melody Ennis, Director of Family Health Services in the Ministry, said although the meeting addressed challenges that had prevented the private doctors from beginning to administer vaccines, the ministry’s standards were not relaxed. “There is a standard that must be maintained at all times,” she insisted.
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