Tue | Oct 19, 2021

Hundreds turnout for vaccination blitz in St Catherine

Published:Saturday | July 31, 2021 | 2:19 PM
Regional Epidemiologist for SERHA, Dr Yohance Rodriguez.

Scores of persons flocked to the St Jago Park Health Centre in St Catherine on Saturday as the Government kick-started its latest COVID-19 vaccination blitz to ramp up its immunisation drive amid surging infections.

Members of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and the Jamaica Defence Force worked assiduously to manage the turn-out.

Among those in attendance was 80-year-old Ensom City resident Phyllis Cato, who waited patiently to be vaccinated.

"It is my first vaccine and I've been here since 8 o'clock this morning and mi still a wait. I just hope that them come give me the injection, so that me get fi go home," Cato said.

Cato is among the most vulnerable cohort that includes he elderly and persons with underlying health conditions. Jamaica, with around six per cent of its population fully vaccinated, has the lowest per capita take-up rate except for Haiti. 

Meanwhile, persons at St Jago Park who claimed that they had been waiting since 5 a.m. said more space was needed to avert social-distancing concerns.

"The reason I am standing in the sun is because I am afraid of the crowd and all the tents are filled up. That adds to the risk," Monica Jemison told The Gleaner.

Dr Yohance Rodriguez, epidemiologist for the South East Regional Health Authority, said that the Ministry of Health was targeting1,000 jabs at the facility. Thirty healthcare workers were on hand to administer vaccines.

Over at the Portmore HEART Academy, Wayne Cooper said that increased anxiety over the Delta variant of the coronavirus - one of the most dominant and highly transmissible strains, influenced his decision.

"It was a smooth process and the risk of getting the virus made even easier for me. It is a time when COVID-19 is having different strains. Therefore, it is safer to be vaccinated than playing the waiting game," Cooper told The Gleaner.

Meanwhile, Jamaica recorded 211 new infections on Friday at a positivity rate of more than 24 per cent. Overall cases have mounted to 52,895 and deaths, 1,190.

Jamaica received 300,000 doses of the AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine from the United Kingdom yesterday.

The vaccine donation to Jamaica is part of the UK's effort to deliver nine million COVID-19 vaccines around the world, including to Indonesia and Kenya, to help tackle the pandemic.

- Rasbert Turner

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