Health workers go house to house with COVID vaccine

October 25, 2021
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) talks to St Mary resident Rorry Fraser (right) about the importance of being vaccinated against COVID-19.
Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) talks to St Mary resident Rorry Fraser (right) about the importance of being vaccinated against COVID-19.

With the country facing the possibility of dumping nearly 200,000 doses of AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccines come next Monday, the health departments across the island have begun a house-to-house vaccination drive.

"This house-to-house vaccination programme is intended to take vaccines to communities that are not close to a fixed site and to persons who are not able to travel to these sites," Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton, said.

Jamaica has administered 94,891 doses of vaccine since Dr Melody Ennis, director of Family Health Services in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, told a parliamentary committee that 268,280 doses of AstraZeneca will expire on October 31.

As 0f yesterday, Jamaica has administered 896,540 COVID-19 vaccine. The average number of vaccines administered over the past seven days is roughly 3,800 doses per day.

Some 192,230 doses of the AstraZeneca batch that expires at the end of this month were still in storage up to last Friday. Jamaica has already dumped 55,000 doses of AstraZeneca after health authorities failed to get them in arms before the expiration date.

Approximately 73,000 persons are due a second dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine up to October while another 148,131 persons are awaiting second shots of the Pfizer vaccine.

As part of the house-to-house vaccination programme, healthcare teams in Hanover, Manchester, St Elizabeth, Trelawny, Westmoreland, St Ann, St Mary, Portland and St Thomas have been deployed to communities across the island to administer the COVID-19 vaccines to shut-ins, disabled and the elderly.

"We intend to make this a more consistent feature of the future, to try and get as much take-up as possible so that we reduce and minimise as best as possible any sort of obstacles for persons not getting vaccinated. So I want to encourage the public, if you are in an area that you cannot reach the site or you are otherwise not able to reach the site because you are immobile, you may be ill, you may need assistance to move, then contact our local parish health department and we will provide support," Tufton said.

The health ministry has appealed to Jamaicans to get vaccinated to prevent serious illness, hospitalisation and/or death associated with COVID-19.

Data from the Ministry of Health and Wellness indicate that 2,179 persons have died in Jamaica since the COVID-19 pandemic arrived on the country's shores last March. There were 88,259 confirmed cases of the virus in the island as of Saturday.

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