Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Jamaica’s PM Holness urges residents to take COVID-19 jab


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Kingston – With less than a tenth of the population fully vaccinated against coronavirus (COVID-19), Prime Minister Andrew Holness has urged residents to come forward to get the jab as the government seeks to reach its goal of vaccinating 700 000 people by the end of next month and 65 per cent of the population by 2022.

Up to Sunday, approximately 374 000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines had been administered. Of the figure, 240 696 represented first doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine and 131 632, second doses.

The Johnson & Johnson single-dose vaccine was also administered to 885 individuals, who participate in various sporting activities.

“We are not quite at 10 per cent of the population fully vaccinated but we are heading there. We have enough vaccines now and enough vaccines scheduled to come; please go out and take the vaccines,” Prime Minister Holness appealed on Wednesday.

He also encouraged the management and staff of public sector entities to take the vaccine, in a bid to protect themselves and others and also preserve livelihoods.

“We started out first by ensuring that our [age] 60 and over and our frontline workers got the vaccine and then when my time came, I was first in line. I took the vaccine and I was hoping that having taken the vaccine, I would then see a lot of other persons following [suit],” he said.

Despite being disappointed that larger numbers of people have not been coming forward, Holness assured, earlier in the week, that the Government has no plans to make vaccination mandatory.

“As it stands now, and we have discussed it in Cabinet, the Government is not thinking about, nor inclined to mandate any vaccines. In fact, we don’t believe that is something that would meet the constitutional test,” he said on Monday.

He said his administration will now be shifting the focus of its public education campaign, to introduce an island wide roadshow which he will be leading.

It will involve him going directly into communities explaining to persons how the vaccine works and how they can access it.

“I am going to be hitting the road. I am going to go into the nooks and crannies . . . I will go about asking you to preserve your lives and livelihoods and to encourage you to take the vaccine,” Holness said. (CMC)


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