MPs recruited for COVID vax assault

With Jamaica expected to receive 75,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine through the African Medical Supplies Platform on Thursday, the Government is moving to ramp up its inoculation of the elderly this Saturday and over the next three months.

Beginning Saturday, five members of parliament from Kingston and St Andrew will be working closely with the Ministry of Health & Wellness to bring out a total of 500 persons, 75 years and older, to get the jab at the National Arena.

Already, the Electoral Office of Jamaica has provided the ministry with a list of electors, 75 years and older, to assist in the drive to encourage and bring out the seniors.

In a statement to Parliament on Tuesday, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said that the MPs would work with councillors to target the specified age cohort in their respective constituencies. Each MP is expected to bring out 100 persons.

“If that process works, then it will become a critical part of the standard organisation to mobilise and bring out the particular targeted age cohort that we require at any particular point in time,” the minister said.

The Ministry of Health & Wellness will also vaccinate other persons who fall in the age category who had registered to be inoculated.

Tufton said that the shipment from the African Medical Supplies Platform would assist significantly in the quest to vaccinate the elderly.

Last Saturday, the health ministry had made provisions to vaccinate 1,000 persons, but only 647 received the jab. The ministry says 662 registrations were received through its vaccination appointment platform.

The country started its vaccination exercise on March 10 this year and has given the first jab to 37,508 persons across the country as at March 29.

Dr Morais Guy, opposition spokesman on health, said that the country would not reach its target of vaccinating 65 per cent of the population early next year unless it steps up the inoculation.

Hitting the target of around 1.9 million people by March 2022 would require immunisation at the pace of 35,000 vaccinations per week.

Meanwhile, Tufton said the ministry was making plans to host 25 vaccination blitzes over the next three months. The locations will spread across 12 parishes for the weekend of April 9.

editorial@gleanerjm.com

Locations for vaccination blitzes for the weekend of April 9:

1. The National Arena (Kingston and St Andrew)

2. Celebration Church (Portmore)

3. SDC Office, St Thomas

4. Montego Bay Convention Centre (St James)

5. Lucea Anglican Church (Hanover)

6. Denbigh Showground (Clarendon)

7. St Mark’s Anglican Parish Church (Manchester)

8. St Matthew’s Anglican Parish Church (St Elizabeth)

9. Bahia Principe Resort (St Ann)

10. Trelawny Multi-Purpose Stadium

11. Gayle Civic Centre (St Mary)

12. Folly Oval (Portland)