In the push to get more Jamaicans vaccinated, the first set of 40 vaccine ‘ambassadors’ has been mobilised in parts of Jamaica to encourage and facilitate the vaccination of members in their communities.
Under the initiative, all Members of Parliament will recruit vaccine ambassadors to encourage constituents to take the coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccines.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness, endorsed the initiative on Wednesday, emphasising that individual engagement at the community level provides critical support for the public education campaign of the national COVID-19 vaccination programme.
“There are many reasons why people are not taking the vaccines, and having the conversation sometimes helps to resolve the skepticism, the fear and the lack of knowledge. I am very hopeful that the community mobilisation will reinforce the national message that is being put out by the Ministry of Health and generally by the Government of Jamaica,” he said, noting that Member of Parliament for St. Andrew North East, Delroy Chuck, has indicated that an additional 20 ambassadors are to be employed for the area.
Holness was addressing journalists while on a visit to a vaccination site at Holy Family Primary and Infant School in downtown Kingston on Wednesday.
The visit formed part of the Prime Minister’s vaccine mobilisation and public education campaign, which saw him also going to a vaccination site located at New Day Primary and Infant School in Kingston.
Vaccination sites in sections of St. Andrew North East and Central Kingston were visited on the day.
Chuck said the vaccine ambassador initiative is vital in emphasising to Jamaicans the importance of getting vaccinated.
“It is important not only for this constituency but for the country that we vaccinate. We have to try and encourage the hesitant to come out,” he said.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Desmond McKenzie said the initiative will be undertaken in all constituencies for a four-week period.
“These 40 ambassadors for COVID will go right across the constituencies canvassing, talking to persons, finding who are vaccinated or who are not vaccinated, and that is going to take place over a four-week period to identify these persons, so we can tell these persons how to get vaccinated. Both political parties, all 63 constituencies will have these persons at their disposal,” he said.
McKenzie informed that all vaccine ambassadors are required to be fully vaccinated.