Madam Speaker, in March, 2020 after the first case of COVID-19 was diagnosed in Jamaica, this Government moved swiftly to build a programme to mitigate the impact of the pandemic and that of the necessary measures to combat the pandemic. The Government, through a multi-agency team, led by the Ministry of Finance and the Public
Service developed from scratch the CARE programme which brought economic and social support to approximately five hundred thousand (~500,000) Jamaicans.

On December 31, 2020, the World Health Organization announced the first vaccine for use under the Emergency Use Listing. This marked a seminal shift in the global fight against the pandemic. Subsequent approvals for other vaccines followed relatively quickly. This was the first time in recorded history that vaccines had been developed
and approved within such a short time span and, consequently, has had varying reactions across the world’s populace. Governments including here in Jamaica have prioritized senior citizens as the devastating effect that COVID-19 has on that group has been recognized.

Madam Speaker, the COVID pandemic has had a disproportionately fatal impact on person’s aged 60 and over. Figures from the Ministry of Health show that:

75% of those who have died from COVID-19 are from among the group aged 60 and over. There were 974 deaths from COVID-19 up to June 5th of which 733 were persons aged 60 and over

Whereas only 0.6% of the persons under 60 who contracted COVID-19 have died that fatality rate rises to 8% for persons over 60.

Madam Speaker, in other words, the fatality rate for those infected with the novel coronavirus who are over 60 years old is 13 times higher the fatality rate of those under 60 years old.

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