The National COVID-19 Vaccination Operationalisation Task Force has presented its preliminary findings and recommendations to Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, and Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton.
The task force, which is chaired by President and Chief Executive Officer of the Port Authority of Jamaica, Professor the Hon. Gordon Shirley, is currently finalising its first full report.
A commitment has been given for the report to be submitted by the week of October 18-22, following which, the Task Force has indicated a willingness to engage with the public to discuss its recommendations.
A statement from the task force indicates that the report will provide recommendations for expanding access, mitigating vaccine hesitancy, and improving the seamlessness of the national vaccination programme.
The statement further states that based on the need for urgent action, the Task Force has adopted “an agile approach of systematically monitoring and evaluating the vaccination programme” and has been providing the Ministry of Health & Wellness with critical evidence-based recommendations, which have contributed to improving accessibility and making the experience more seamless.
Recommendations, to date, have led to the spatial expansion of the vaccination programme, increasing the number of available vaccination locations.
The Task Force has also provided insights for the Ministry’s communications programme, regarding strategies to mitigate vaccine hesitancy across several groups of Jamaicans, and the use of multiple communication platforms to encourage take-up of the various vaccines available.
Since being appointed on September 2, the Task Force has met with a cross-section of stakeholders to holistically understand the various issues and perspectives related to the national vaccination programme, with a view to improving its convenience and efficiency.
This has included surveys and meetings with citizens from various social groups and on-the-ground observations from repeat visits to several vaccination sites.
The mandate of the Task Force is to examine and optimise the operational and logistical aspects of the national vaccination programme from end to end.
Some of the areas of focus include the improvement of the operation of vaccination sites, the development of strategies to recruit suitable personnel to enhance the delivery of vaccination services, engaging with various stakeholders to encourage and facilitate participation, and to make recommendations for an internationally accepted authentication of Jamaica’s vaccine delivery systems.
Members are from various industries such as shipping and logistics, the business sector, the health sector, the legal fraternity, Government, the behavioural sciences, and the military.