Jamaica to establish more mobile vaccination sites

The Ministry of Health & Wellness will be establishing more mobile vaccination sites as part of its community-based intervention aimed at significantly increasing the number of Jamaicans inoculated with the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.

Portfolio Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said that the intervention forms part of efforts to deal with the third wave of the virus and mobilise as best as possible, persons who otherwise would have to travel far distances to receive the vaccine.

“It will make it a lot easier to access the vaccines (and) very importantly, it is also to engage the community-based approach to supporting a comfort level for persons, who may have issues with the vaccine …and addressing some of the concerns that people have,” he noted.

“So, the communication strategy is very much intertwined with the logistics of taking the programme to communities,” he added.

Dr. Tufton was addressing the Ministry’s weekly virtual COVID Conversations press conference on August 12.

He noted that the regional authorities have been tasked with communicating with the leadership in the respective communities to determine the sites that are closest to the people and can provide support for the entire community.

“This approach is captured under a sort of participatory theme relying on multiple stakeholders and so our members of parliament, councillors, community health aides –we have hired 1,000 of those – health promotion and education officers, community leaders, private partners and church leaders, we are relying on those stakeholders to be a part of this approach,” he said.

He indicated that he will be meeting with Opposition Spokesman on Health, Dr. Morais Guy, to discuss levels of collaboration and coordination.

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Meanwhile, Dr Tufton informed that private entities, through the Private Sector Vaccine Initiative, have committed to activating a fixed site in Kingston beginning next week with a target to vaccinate some 6,000 persons each week.

“The Girl Guides Headquarters here in Kingston has been a fixed site for the private sector initiative. Additionally, two mobile sites are being put in place and the intention is to use these mobile sites to visit companies,” he said, noting that more than 350 employees have signalled their intention so far to be vaccinated.

Approximately 391,076 persons have been vaccinated to date. These represent 255,961 first doses and 134,186 second doses of the AstraZeneca vaccine, and 929 single doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

The Government aims to administer some 700,000 doses of the vaccine by the end of September in pursuit of the target of vaccinating 65 per cent of the population by March 2022.

“It’s an ambitious target, it’s not a target that will fail on account of a lack of vaccines, it’s a target, if it fails, would [be] on account of the [low] take-up of vaccines, which is why the approach around community-based intervention is important,” he said.

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