We welcome 2021 with hope and optimism, giving thanks to God for sparing our lives to see this day. I am privileged and grateful to lead this great nation, small in size but large in stature, with endless potential.

As difficult and challenging as it was, 2020 demonstrated that our greatest problems can only be solved when we cooperate and unite in common cause.

Jamaica has done well, in managing the pandemic, relative to its resources. Our objective was always to flatten the curve; that is, to contain the number of persons in need of medical treatment, so as not to overwhelm the health care system and to do this for as long as possible until a vaccine became available. Our healthcare and other frontline workers have done an outstanding job of keeping us safe and we all owe them a debt of gratitude.

However, now is not the time for complacency. Let us all continue to do our part so that the tremendous sacrifices that we have made in 2020 to protect lives and livelihoods are not squandered.

Vaccines are now available and our Government has set up a committee to plan and operationalize the distribution logistics involved. Jamaica has had a long and successful history in administering national vaccination programmes through our primary healthcare system. I certainly recall my time receiving vaccines in primary school. The Government will engage in a public education campaign and strongly recommend and urge Jamaicans, particularly those who are vulnerable to get vaccinated. The vaccine will be free of cost to those who seek to obtain it through the public health system.


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