Tue | Oct 19, 2021

Two-day vaccination blitz for Newport West shipping community begins

SAJ encourages members’ participation

Published:Tuesday | September 28, 2021 | 12:09 AM
People waiting to receive the coronavirus vaccine at the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ mobile vaccination drive at Sovereign Centre in St Andrew last month.
People waiting to receive the coronavirus vaccine at the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ mobile vaccination drive at Sovereign Centre in St Andrew last month.

Interests in Newport West, the island’s shipping hub, are encouraging their workforce to get vaccinated at a pop-up vaccination blitz in the community on Tuesday, September 28, and Wednesday, September 29.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness’ two-day blitz – supported by Kingston Wharves Limited (KWL), Kingston Freeport Terminal Limited and The Port Authority of Jamaica – will be held at KWL’s Kingport Building car park on Third Street, Newport West, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on both days.

Participants will have access to either of two options, the Johnson&Johnson single-shot vaccine or AstraZeneca’s two-dose vaccine. Second-dose shots of the AstraZeneca vaccine will also be administered to those who are now due.

President of the Shipping Association of Jamaica, William Brown, said “Vaccinations are critical to the health of our country and the recovery of our industry, and the economy at large. We strongly believe that this is the best way to protect our communities, and particularly those employees with greater exposure on the frontline. The success of this blitz, and those to follow, will determine how quickly we are able to see an upturn in our respective industries, and so we encourage our members to mobilise their employees to take advantage of this event.”

The blitz forms part of the Government’s ongoing drive to ramp up vaccinations across the island as Jamaica faces a third wave of the novel coronavirus, following a relaxation of containment measures in July.

However, with daily coronavirus cases topping triple digits for over a month, the Government has since moved to stem the spread with increased measures, which include all-day lockdowns on Sundays.

Last Wednesday, Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton, while addressing an event associated with the 59th PAHO Directing Council meeting which he chairs, said the impacts of COVID-19 are worse than that of the global economic crisis in 2008.

Tufton said it is critical for local stakeholders to cooperate for the nation’s recovery, adding, “As the health system must learn to accommodate COVID-19, so also must the business sector. Several factors will affect recovery. The ability of firms and workers to pivot, to implement policies to stem the spread of the infection in the workplace, and to apply innovations to allow businesses to continue, despite COVID-19, will make a difference in our recovery efforts.”

Virus cases have climbed past 80,000, with more than 1,800 related deaths reported since the first infection was reported in March 2020.

Up to September 20, Jamaica had administered 709,444 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, including 490,953 first doses; 196,216 second doses; and 22,275 single doses.

The ministry is also encouraging members of the public to maintain COVID-19 prevention and control measures, which include mask wearing, maintaining physical distance, and frequently washing and/or sanitising hands.