GRANVILLE, St James – Opposition Leader and President of the People's National Party (PNP) Mark Golding is bemoaning what he says is the country's late vaccination response while at the same time claiming that Jamaica is one of the least-vaccinated countries in the English-speaking Caribbean which is not in the best interest of the island's recovery process.
“We are one of the least-vaccinated countries in the English-speaking Caribbean region right now, and that does not go all well for the recovery of the economy because, at the end of the day, we need to keep ahead of the curve in terms of vaccination so that people can feel that they are coming into a place which has this thing under control. And, I don't think people are going to be comfortable coming to a place with very low levels of vaccination,” suggested Golding.
Golding, who was addressing the business community at the Bellefield Great House in St James on Friday, said that the Government was late to getting vaccines while at the same time there is no real programme in place to get people vaccinated.
“The vaccination programme in the country is being very poorly handled in my opinion. The Government is very late to react to the need to secure vaccines. So, they were putting all their eggs in one basket, which is COVAX, which is well known to be insufficient to achieve herd immunity in any reasonable time frame,” stated the opposition leader.
So, we are feeling the effects of that negligence, but also there is no real programme to persuade people to get vaccinated, and we know that there is a lot of vaccine hesitancy, reluctance, fear, misunderstanding, and so on, including among the vulnerable people,” added Golding.
Golding said there is a need for the implementation of a proper public relations programme (PR) that could assist with debunking some of the social media hype and misinformation.
“We need a proper PR programme that gets behind and ahead of some of the social media hype and misinformation that is so prevalent,” stated Golding.
The opposition leader said he has received his second jab of the vaccine and is encouraging the public to get theirs.
“Hundreds of millions of people around the world are vaccinated, and the incidence of side effects or worse, fatality, is very, very minimal. There are many things that each of us does every day which are much more risky than getting vaccinated,” stated Golding, who added, “I had my second jab and I am still standing. So I encourage anybody to do it, especially those who are up in age and may have other co-morbidities.”