(Jamaica Observer) KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness has warned that there will be prosecution if corruption and/or negligence led to the disappearance of a vial of COVID-19 vaccine from the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James recently.
Addressing a virtual vaccine town hall meeting a short moment ago, Holness said he has to demonstrate to the Indian government, that Jamaica appreciates its gift of 50,000 doses of Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines, which arrived in the island on March 8.
“We as a government are intent on breaking that cycle of the improper distribution of scarce public goods. We take it very seriously. I have spoken to the minister of health and we are going to go with the fullest force to find out what happened to that vaccine and if there is any negligence or deliberate theft or corruption involved in it.
“Even for one vial, there will be prosecution. I want that to be clear to the Jamaican public. The government takes this very seriously, all the more reason because it was a gift. We have to show the people who have given us the vaccines that we respect their gift and we are using it in the appropriate way,” the prime minister said.
According to the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the vial of AstraZeneca vaccine was discovered missing on Tuesday after standard checks were carried out during the vaccination process.
The Western Regional Health Authority is currently carrying out an investigation, which involves the review of CCTV footage and the policies and procedures at the hospital, the ministry said.
Several members of staff of the WRHA who were assigned to the vaccination site have since been reassigned pending the outcome of the investigation.