JN Foundation says it will commence a new round of efforts to encourage and assist to increase the numbers of Jamaicans vaccinated, with just under 1,400 people vaccinated over the past three months through its series of immunisation drives.
Its latest drive comes as the country battles its highest-ever number of daily infections, with a record of more than 1,700 on Tuesday, January 10 accompanied by a positivity rate that rose above 60 per cent. The positivity on Thursday, January 13 was 68.6 per cent.
The foundation is maintaining its focus on rural parishes, however, where the vaccination take-up continues to be lowest. The organisation and its team of volunteers, supported by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, will be going back to Mandeville, Manchester, stopping this time at deCarteret College, 2 Woodlawn Road in the parish capital, on Friday, January 21.
“With still under 20 per cent of the entire population unvaccinated, we have to continue the drive and the message to get our citizens protected,” said senior manager for group risk and compliance at Jamaica National Group, Natoya Brown.
“Vaccination is our surest way to finally ending the pandemic and its impact on our country,” she emphasised.
In an effort to spare the economy and jobs from further damage from lockdown days, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has insisted that there will be no more lockdowns by the Government. He urged Jamaicans to instead get vaccinated.
“I have been very clear in Parliament, very clear, absolutely gone overboard to say we are not going back to lockdowns,” he told a press conference last week Sunday.
“And I have said what the strategy is; it is now in your hands. Go and take the vaccine — that is the strategy. We can't hold you down and put the needle in your hand. If you get sick, you take that responsibility,” he said.
Over the past three months, JN Foundation has conducted four drives in Westmoreland, Manchester and Clarendon — parishes which all had less than 25 per cent of their populations receiving at least one dose of a vaccine at that time. In addition to those events, the organisation supported at least one vaccination drive in the Corporate Area, lending assistance to the Rotary Club of Trafalgar New Heights on December 4 at Maverley Primary and Junior High School in St Andrew, where 110 Maverley residents received a dose of a COVID-19 vaccine.
Brown reiterated that JN will be maintaining its message in the media and across its social media platforms, as well as creating opportunities for persons to receive a dose of a vaccine.
“Now, more than ever, we have to take responsibility for our actions by protecting ourselves and our loved ones. Let us get vaccinated without delay,” she said. “All our futures depend on it.”