Addressing a Ministry of Health/Southern Regional Health Authority (SRHA) Parish Town Hall Meeting at the Sandy Bank Primary School in St. Elizabeth on July 21, the Minister said Jamaica’s participation forms part of an international study and fight against ZIKV.
Dr. Tufton noted that the clinical trials are supported by the World Health Organizaton (WHO).
The Minister pointed out that the vaccine could become available within a year, but in the meantime, more persons and countries will be affected. He added that once the virus gets to its second phase, less people will be affected.
Dr. Tufton also told the gathering that Jamaica is among some 65 countries fighting ZIKV, and Jamaicans must appreciate the fact that the virus will continue to spread for a while.
“The Zika virus is new and there is no resistance. The immune system has not experienced it and developed the capacity to fight against it. So, when something is new like Zika, it tends to spread faster until you develop some sort of resistance to it,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, Dr. Tufton said the Government is determined to empower citizens to fight ZIKV through the free flow of information at all levels, and that once persons are informed, they will be better able to tackle the virus.
“The biggest and most significant line of defence to fight this virus is us,” the Minister emphasised.
He urged citizens to clean their environment to get rid of the breeding sites of the aedes aegypti mosquito, the carrier of the Zika Virus.
The meeting was also addressed by Minister of State in the Ministry of Education, Youth and Information. Hon. Floyd Green; Chief Medical Officer in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Winston De La Haye; Chief Executive Officer (CEO) at the Black River Hospital, Dr. Diana Brown Miller; and Parish Manager of the St. Elizabeth Health Services, Sean Brissett.
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