Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness, says he is pleased to see that there is now a shift in public sentiment regarding the COVID-19 vaccination, with more persons seemingly willing to be vaccinated.
He said he plans to be “at the head of the line” to receive the vaccine, once it arrives in the island and the process to administer it begins.
The Prime Minister, who was speaking at the ceremony to break ground for a $16-million recreational centre in Olympic Gardens on Friday (February 19), attributed the shift in public sentiment to the fact that people are seeing individuals in other countries receiving the vaccine, including their family and friends who have migrated.
“They have seen no adverse effects and I think my sense now is that there will probably be a greater take-up,” he noted.
The Prime Minister noted that with indications being that more people may take up vaccination than had been initially anticipated, the Cabinet is going to reconsider the allocation that was made for the public education and promotion programme.
“We still, however, have to maintain some minimum amount of public education because as you can imagine, the logistical efforts involved in deploying the vaccine will still require the Government to communicate with the citizens the time and place and availability [of the vaccine] and explain to citizens what the vaccines will do, and what side-effects there could be, if any.
“So, there still has to be some budget for that, but I believe in our reconsideration that we could reallocate those resources to other areas in health, in fact, to even acquire more vaccines,” he said.
The Prime Minister said that the Government has ensured that the vaccine that will be provided to Jamaicans is safe.
“We were very careful to ensure that any vaccine that we are bringing into the country… has World Health Organization (WHO) approval… because, ultimately, we want every Jamaican to feel safe taking the vaccine,” Mr. Holness said.