Second-dose vaccine slumpWednesday, October 27, 2021
BY ALPHEA SUMNER
FEWER Jamaicans have been turning up for their second dose of COVID-19 vaccines even as the Government pushes to administer one million doses by the end of next month.
Yesterday health officials pleaded with Jamaicans who are due their second dose to come forward.
“There is a decrease in the take-up of the doses; many persons are still due their second doses and we are seeing that we have less persons coming out. We started the first week with 38,000 persons coming out for second doses, and last week we only had 8,607 persons who came out for their second doses,” Chief Medical Officer Dr Jaquiline Bisasor McKenzie said during the ministry's COVID Coversations news briefing.
More than 50,000 people are still due their second dose. The new take-up for the shot has also dropped, Dr Bisasor McKenzie said, pointing out that October started off with more than 12,000 people taking a first or single-dose vaccine, but this decreased to under 10,000 by the second week of the month.
She warned that people are not fully protected unless they have taken a single-dose vaccine or both doses of a double-dose vaccine, stressing that of the 1,651 COVID-19 related deaths in the country between March 1 and October 24, a total of 98 per cent of them were unvaccinated individuals.
The CMO and Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton stressed that the with vaccination sites now bumped up to over 200 locations including fixed, mobile, community outreach and private sector initiatives across the island, in addition to drives focused on shut-ins, there is adequate opportunity being provided for people to get vaccinated. Additionally, the minister announced, 100 private doctors have been brought on board to administer vaccines at their facilities.
“There should be no excuse for anyone who wants to get vaccinated. There are options, and the excuse that [was] given in the past that we need to provide more outlets [is] no longer the excuse that can be given with credibility among persons who have not taken up the vaccine,” he argued.
There were 49 new COVID cases on Monday and one virus-related death, bringing the tally to 2,184 deaths overall since the pandemic hit the island in March 2020, the ministry advised. The country has recorded a cumulative 88,480 confirmed cases, with 512 persons now in hospital. A total of 56,944 people have recovered from the virus.
The CMO noted that the country's vaccination level is still too low to have any positive effect on transmission at this time. She said while the daily positivity rate is now 8.3 per cent (more than three per cent above the World Health Organization's recommended level) there is still significant pressure on the public health system, with 400 hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients and 46 per cent of communities affected with new cases over the past two weeks.