Politicians prioritised for COVID-19 vaccine

January 13, 2021

Politicians have been included on the priority list of persons who will be among the first to get COVID-19 vaccines in Jamaica.

Some 146,000 Jamaicans are set to get vaccinated in the first phase of the programme, which is expected to start in April and end in August. Politicians are among the 440,000 individuals overall who have been singled out for the jab.

Persons with co-morbidities such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension, who are below the age of 60, have not been included on the priority list.

Speaking in Parliament yesterday, Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton said that in the first phase, the vaccine will be given to healthcare personnel, persons 60 years and older, soldiers, police, fire brigade personnel and prison warders.

"The vaccination of the elderly and front-line workers who are most at risk is crucial to the overall efficacy of the programme," Tufton said.

"Through vaccination of the elderly, we will immediate cauterise the number of persons who have negative outcomes due to an infection of COVID-19; and by vaccinating our front-line workers, greater levels of service delivery can be realised through the reduction of their risk profile based on infection," the minister said.

He said, too, that employees of the Passport, Immigration and Citizenship Agency; staff and inmates at infirmaries; members of parliament, senators, parish council representatives and other senior members of the State; residents and staff of nursing homes; and prisoners, have also been included.

Dr Morais Guy, the opposition spokesman on health, urged Tufton to include asthmatics on the priority list as they are prone to respiratory illnesses. Guy also said that most diabetic and hypertensive patients would be in the 60 and over age group.

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