Tourism Minister, Hon. Edmund Bartlett, says vaccine hesitancy must go for growth to take place.
The Minister was speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ at the agency’s head office in Kingston on Tuesday (September 21), where he encouraged tourism workers to get vaccinated.
“There has been a lot of hesitancy and I want to make the point that nothing will destroy our hope of recovery than hesitancy and, worst of all, non-compliance to the protocols,” said Minister Bartlett.
“Stop listening to Anancy stories. Stop listening to people who are less informed, less educated than yourselves… and false narrative about the vaccines,” Minister Bartlett urged, noting that five billion people in the world have already taken the vaccines.
He acknowledged that “there are some deep-seated fears and emotions and even religious and ideological views on vaccines… but that argument bears little value in the context of how medicine and science have combined with faith to heal the world”.
Emphasising the importance of vaccines in the recovery of the tourism sector, Minister Bartlett said that “our neighbours and our large markets such as the United States (US), the United Kingdom (UK) and Canada – and I am expecting Europe to follow soon – are all requiring fully vaccinated citizens as a basis for entry into their country and that their fully vaccinated citizens should not be going to countries that are not vaccinated”.
He suggested that the tourism world could shun destinations where the workers of the industry are not vaccinated “because they don’t feel that you are healthy enough if you don’t have that protection”.
Minister Bartlett indicated that nearly 50 per cent of front-line workers within Jamaica’s tourism industry have already received at least one dose of the vaccine, and the goal is to have 70 per cent fully vaccinated by the end of October.
The AstraZeneca, Johnson and Johnson and Pfizer vaccines are being administered in Jamaica.