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Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, is encouraging Jamaicans to take the COVID-19 vaccines when they become available, emphasising that only safe vaccines will be acquired and distributed to the population.
“We are confident, very confident that we took the right decision from the start to await vaccines that were approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) and have gone through appropriate levels of trials and write-ups.
Therefore, we can say with confidence that the vaccines that we will get will be safe and will offer the protection that we expect, based on all those trials,” the Minister said.
Speaking at a virtual COVID Conversations press briefing on March 2, Dr. Tufton said the Government has set a target to vaccinate 65 per cent of the population, with priority placed on the most vulnerable.
The vaccination process will be undertaken in three phases. Phase one is categorised as vulnerable groups; phase two, essential to economic activity; and phase three, general public.
“We will provide counselling, we will provide guidance, we will schedule the take-up and we ask for the public’s cooperation, particularly in the early stages when not everybody will be entitled and there will be some enthusiasm among some who may want it early. We are committed to equity in the distribution, along the lines of the priorities,” Dr. Tufton said.
He urged Jamaicans to be guided by the scheduling arrangements that have been established.
“We want to discourage those who may feel that they have a right, even though it is not their time as yet, because we also have to manage the crowding effect on the locations where the vaccine will be made available. So, the scheduling is very important, otherwise we could be spreading the virus in a place where we are trying to prevent the virus, and that is not something that we would like to happen,” the Minister emphasised.
Dr. Tufton said that while updates of the plan will be provided, Jamaicans are being urged to adhere to the protocols that have been established to minimise the spread of COVID-19.