Jamaica: Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness of Jamaica, Dunstan Bryan, informed that a total of 26,512 Jamaicans, including Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and Opposition Leader, Mark Golding, have, so far, received their first dose of the Oxford/AstraZeneca coronavirus (COVID-19) vaccine.
This is the first of two doses, with the next to be administered within another eight to 12 weeks.
Permanent Secretary noted that these persons, who comprise selected priority groups, have been vaccinated as of Monday (March 22).
They include healthcare workers, Jamaica Constabulary Force (JCF) and Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) officers, and the elderly, with the majority falling in the 30-59 age cohort.
He was speaking during the weekly virtual COVID-19 Conversations press briefing on Tuesday (March 23).
Mr. Bryan said a breakdown of the overall number of vaccinated persons shows that 55 per cent of them are healthcare workers, 32 per cent are JCF and JDF officers, and 11 per cent – the elderly, with the remaining 1.49 per cent falling outside those priority groups.
“Some of these persons [outside the priority groups] represent those [who] in the first couple of days were vaccinated because of excess doses that were in the parish, and persons were inoculated based on their presence,” the Permanent Secretary indicated.
He said they have since resolved the issue, “and we believe that we have cauterised this particular problem”.
“We now have a system in place with the call-out list, where only persons within the specific groups… are vaccinated at the time,” Mr. Bryan stated.
He said the number of vaccinations administered represents 94 per cent of the Ministry’s target for the first week of the exercise and 91 per cent for the second, ending Tuesday (March 23).
“[In terms of] our target for the month, we have achieved 56 per cent of that, and for the year, we are one per cent,” he added.
Mr. Bryan pointed out that most of the persons vaccinated were from Kingston and St. Andrew, and St. Catherine, noting that 60 per cent of those individuals were female.
For this week (March 22 to 28), focus is to be placed on vaccinating persons 75 years and older.
The Government has set a target to inoculate 65 per cent of the population by March 31, 2022.
Ramanjot Kaur is a dedicated journalist with a Master’s in Journalism and Mass Communication, specializing in economic and political news reporting with incisive analysis and integrity.