CLOSE to 600 Jamaicans have now been vaccinated during two immunisation drives organised by the JN Foundation.
The philanthropic arm of Jamaica National Group, the country's third-largest financial conglomerate, launched its campaign on October 1 with a series of messages on the airwaves, online and via immunisation sites, encouraging Jamaicans to protect themselves and loved ones from the novel coronavirus.
It added a sweetener, providing $2,500 on a JN Money card to the first 200 people monthly who register via jnfoundation.com and upload a photo of their vaccination card.
“I believe we are reaching Jamaicans, and we only hope that the trend will continue as we visit other communities in parishes across the country,” a company release quotes JN Foundation General Manager Claudine Allen.
The organisation commenced its drive in rural communities, given the lower take-up of vaccines in parishes outside the Corporate Area. It began in Petersfield, Westmoreland, where 200 people received COVID-19 vaccines before the team moved on to Mandeville, Manchester, where close to 400 were vaccinated.
The foundation will remain in Manchester this week as it heads to Plowden on the pastoral southern region of the parish today. At the same time it's also supporting the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) and a few service organisations with drives in other communities across the country to shore up the number of Jamaicans immunised against the deadly respiratory disease that has now depressed global activity for nearly two years and has killed in excess of five million people.
“It's past time that we get back to higher levels of normalcy. The restrictions we are forced to impose to stop the spread of the disease are seriously eroding our human development, and if we continue I fear for the world we'll live in a few years from now,” Allen said.
“We will continue with our message and our efforts, even as we are facing the emergence of a new strain of the virus, because if we don't I believe the impact will be worse in the months ahead than it was during the surge of last August and September. I urge everyone to take personal responsibility by doing what they should for their families and their country,” she urged.
After Plowden, JN Foundation intends to head to Clarendon where COVID-19 immunisation rates are also woefully low although the parish has had the fifth-highest incidence of the disease since it arrived in Jamaica in March 2020. Only 17.5 per cent of the parish's population have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine up to October 31, MOHW stats show.
Allen said Jamaicans can listen out for details about upcoming vaccination drives via the airwaves and from town criers in targeted communities, as well as via e-mail and text messages from the JN Group.