Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dunstan Bryan, made the disclosure while outlining aspects of the country’s vaccination plan during a virtual COVID Conversations press briefing.
“We are projecting to May that we will have approximately 975,000 vaccines in our arsenal for inoculation, and based on that projection we intend to roll out the different phases of the implementation of the vaccine,” he said.
Phase one is categorised as vulnerable groups; phase two, essential to economic activity; and phase three, general public.
The categories of persons under phase one include government officials, healthcare workers, elderly 60 years and over, members of the Jamaica Defence Force, the Jamaica Fire Brigade and the Jamaica Constabulary Force; persons who work in early childhood, primary and secondary education institutions in public and private sector, Department of Correctional Services, Passport Immigration and Citizenship Agency (PICA) and Jamaica Customs.
“The principle behind phase one is that we are looking at the vulnerable groups, the persons who are in high contact areas or are coming into high risk for contamination. We are looking at the persons who are highly vulnerable for negative outcome from infection, and so that is what underpins our phase-one implementation,” he said.
Mr. Bryan noted that the numbers for some of the categories are still being refined.
The categories of individuals under phase two include other public-sector workers, hotel workers, transportation sector, manufacturing sector, banking sector, and the agricultural sector.
“Our phase-two implementation are those persons within the economy or the society that are essential to economic activity, and so we looked at the different economic groups and we will be prioritising those persons,” he said.
He noted that phase three is a general population segment that looks at persons within the general population who require vaccination.
“Based on our surveys that we have done, we are getting around 30 to 45 per cent of the persons who say they will take the vaccine; we have another 25 to 30 per cent of the population who say we are not sure, we will think about it, we want some more information, and then we have another 25 to 30 per cent who say definitely that they will not be taking the vaccine,” Mr. Bryan noted.
“So, in terms of setting a target, we are looking for 65 per cent of that population that we will reach and when we do the 65 per cent of the total population, based on the numbers that we have right now, we are looking at approximately 248,000 persons in phase one that we would attempt to reach over the period,” he said.
He said a public call will be made for persons to make an appointment based on their priority group.
Mr. Bryan said persons should apply for an appointment five days before their desired date, noting that they will be required to provide information, such as age, date of birth, area of work, comorbidity, allergy, address, venue for vaccination, telephone number and email address.
The application for appointment may be made via 1-888-ONE-LOVE, parish health departments, the websites of the Ministry or regional health authorities or by visiting any parish health department.
“Once you walk in, call in or enter your information on the website, there will be a prioritisation process that will take place,” he said, noting that age, comorbidities and high exposure areas will be taken into consideration.
He said a daily vaccination schedule will be made available, noting that persons will get a notification three days before their appointment with information such as date, time and venue.
Mr. Bryan noted, too, that a second appointment will be made for the second dose of the vaccine.
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