Chief Medical Officer (CMO), Dr. Jacquiline Bisasor-McKenzie, has emphasised that Jamaica is still in the community transmission phase of the coronavirus (COVID-19), so persons who received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine must continue to protect themselves against the virus.
Speaking at a recent virtual COVID Conversations press briefing, the CMO pointed out that this is necessary, as “many persons around you may have COVID-19”.
“If you are infected in the first days after the vaccine, you will have no protection from the vaccine and, therefore, you may develop a severe illness,” she added.
The CMO pointed out that after about two to three weeks with the first AstraZeneca vaccine, it is not going to prevent persons from getting COVID-19.
“You may get COVID, but if your body has started now to develop some immunity, it would be a mild illness, but it is still possible to transmit COVID-19 to others who may not be vaccinated and they may get a severe illness,” Dr. Bisasor-McKenzie said.
She stressed that it is important for Jamaicans to continue to abide by the protocols outlined by the Government.
“You have to wear your mask, practise physical distancing, hand sanitise and sanitise frequently used areas. You have to stay at home if you are sick and do all the other things that we have said in terms of infection, prevention and control, because you can get COVID-19 and you can transmit it,” she said.
Persons who have already received the first dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine will be given their second dose based on appointments, starting in May.
The Ministry of Health and Wellness’ vaccination programme started on March 10. To date, 135,473 persons have received the first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, which represents seven per cent of the target population of 1,924,759.