Jamaica’s Health Minister Dr. Christopher Tufton is anticipating a greater turnout for the upcoming island-wide coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccination blitzes, as additional stakeholders come on board to assist in encouraging more persons to get inoculated.
“We have included in the mix, the very important role of the political representatives … and the intention is to roll that out across the country where, in another week or so, we are going to have a national blitz in every parish. Essentially, what it is about is to mobilize all stakeholders, to encourage in the first instance, our vulnerable groups to be a part of the … immunization blitz,” he said.
The blitz is the mass vaccination plan being implemented by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to inoculate 1,000 persons in a day at a single location.
Persons, 75 years and older, are now being targeted for vaccinations island-wide, with a reserve list to include members of the Jamaica Fire Brigade (JFB) and individuals over 60 years.
Tufton said the government is working with several stakeholders, including the church and senior citizens groups, to assist in getting people inoculated.
“What we really want to get out of this is a unified message to the country that this is a risk that affects all of us and so it requires a solution from all of us,” he emphasized.
He further noted that a key player in the mobilization effort was Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie, who he said was instrumental in getting several members of his West Kingston constituents vaccinated.
McKenzie said he was optimistic the local government ministry’s involvement in the vaccination drive “will go a far way in enhancing the program.”
He advised he will be enlisting the assistance of all 63 members of Parliament and 230 municipal councilors across Jamaica in further bolstering the initiative. He also plans to meet virtually with the mayors, inspectors of the poor, and other key ministry stakeholders.
McKenzie encouraged Jamaicans to dispel the false narrative regarding the COVID-19 vaccination, stressing that “I took it,” adding that he experienced mild side effects for a few days.