United States President Joe Biden has declared June ‘a national month of action’ in an attempt to meet his 70 percent COVID-19 vaccination target by July 4th.
Some 44 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated but many states like Florida have almost completely lifted COVID-19 protocols for vaccinated residents.
With America getting closer to a return to normalcy, Jamaican-Americans have been putting pressure on the Jamaican government to lift its COVID-19 restrictions for members of the diaspora who are fully vaccinated.
Addressing the concerns at a recent press briefing, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said as more Jamaicans get vaccinated, more measures will be eliminated.
“We don’t anticipate that we are going to be living in this environment forever. The idea is to manage the risk, to overcome the risk and hopefully, over time, given all the measures — including the vaccine — eliminate the risk. The more you achieve persons getting vaccinated, the less the risk because that is the most effective defence as of now, and therefore you will see the elimination and relaxation of non-clinical measures,” he said.
Speaking specifically to the quarantine order, which is now eight days for fully vaccinated visitors, Jamaica’s Chief Medical officer, Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-Mckenzie said this protocol is still necessary to protect unvaccinated Jamaicans, which is still the majority of the population.
“People that have been vaccinated are still at risk of getting COVID-19. And if they have COVID-19, it means that they can transmit it. So the purpose of quarantine is really an observation period to see if persons who have been exposed to COVID-19 develop symptoms and to keep them away from the general population to prevent exposure,” she said.
Dr Bisasor-Mckenzie also noted the numerous variants of COVID-19 as a concern for Jamaica. She said that the health ministry is doing everything to prevent another surge of the virus, and thus, it cannot relax all the measures.