Tufton apologises for inconvenience caused by 'rush' on vaccination centres
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton

KINGSTON, Jamaica— Health and Wellness Minister, Dr Christopher Tufton, has apologised for the situation that has led to scores of people congregating outside some vaccination centres today in anticipation of receiving their second shot of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

There were chaotic scenes outside the Mona Aging and Wellness Centre at the University of the West Indies (UWI) on Wednesday morning, as people sought to be fully inoculated.

"I certainly regret the inconvenience that has been caused with the rush on some of the locations, particularly the National Arena (on Saturday) and today we have seen where the Mona Aging (and Wellness) Centre had a rush which really meant that no vaccines were delivered," Dr Tufton said. 

"... and so those who have been inconvenienced, particularly our senior citizens, it is not a desired position, and it is indeed regrettable position on the part of those who have had to suffer the wait without success of fully getting the vaccines. We have to strive to do better and we will do better," he added.

Dr Tufton was speaking at Parliament's Joint Select Committee on the COVID-19 pandemic and related matters.

The minister reminded people that the efficacy of the vaccines allow for a period of time of up to 12 weeks from the time of the first dose being administered.

Against that background, he pointed out that only people coming close to that time period would be prioritised. 

"We say to others who are anxious -- and understandably so -- don't come if you are not contacted, or if you feel you are close to that date of the 12 week period make contact because it is possibly we could overlook or the system may not adequately account for everyone," Dr Tufton stated.

Despite the rush on the vaccination centres by people he described as being "anxious", Dr Tufton said he was "heartened" to see these individuals being vocal about receiving the vaccines for themselves, as well as family members. 

"The Government -- certainly the ministry and myself as minister -- fully appreciates the potential for those anxieties, and fully share an understanding with those persons who are anxious to get their second dose to complete their dosage, because in fact, we think it is a good indication of the willingness to take the vaccines," he explained. 

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