KINGSTON, Jamaica — Jamaica’s first shipment of the COVID-19 vaccines from India has arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

The 50,000 doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine are to kick start the country’s vaccination drive in the next 48 hours.

Another 14,400 doses of the vaccine, procured under the COVAX Facility, are expected on Thursday.

Speaking briefly with OBSERVER ONLINE at the airport this afternoon, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson Smith said she has spoken with External Affairs Minister of India, Dr Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, and extended appreciation on behalf of Jamaica.

“One of the things we discussed was our pleasure and appreciation at receiving these vaccines today,” she said. “It is good to start our programme in this spirit of friendship and partnership that exists between ourselves and the Government of India.”

As part of its vaccine maitri initiative, India has been donating thousands of vaccine doses to countries across the world.

Some 570,000 doses of the vaccine are earmarked for distribution across the Caribbean region alone.

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