Kingston, Jamaica, September 25, 2021 – After only 8 weeks of implementing its vaccination programme as part of phase 2 of the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ (MoHW) national vaccination plan (NVP), the Private Sector Vaccine Initiative (PSVI) on Friday (September 24) reached a total of 20, 213 vaccinations facilitated among private sector employees and dependents.
Acting as an agent of the MoHW, the PSVI has delivered its programme across eight parishes and in sectors such as: global services (BPO), tourism, manufacturing, finance, transportation, telecommunications, distribution and retail.
During this period the Initiative partnered and staged vaccination exercises at more than 34 company sites, allowing staff and dependents of such companies to have the jab within the confines and convenience of their offices, as well as a weekly operation at its Waterloo Centre in St. Andrew, where in excess of 300 companies of varying sizes have had work teams vaccinated.
“Our mandate with the PSVI vaccination programme is to ensure efficient and convenient access to vaccinations for employees in the productive sector, which is ultimately our way of helping to accelerate the pace of the NVP across the country,” explained Peter Melhado, chair, PSVI Logistics and Operations, Committee.
“We are very pleased with the responses we are getting from private sector, which has contributed to the progress we are making with our programme. We have some ways to go yet, but this milestone in just about 2 months is an encouraging sign,” he added.
Companies mobilising staff
The Initiative, which is a collaboration among the Jamaica Chamber of Commerce (JCC), the Jamaica Manufactures and Exporters Association (JMEA) and the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica (PSOJ), has noted that companies that have hosted hundreds of employees receiving the jab are those that implement robust engagement programmes with staff and other stakeholders long before the “Vax Day”.
“We have observed a clear correlation with those companies that have deep engagement with staff ahead of hosting the Vax Day and the relatively high volume of take-up on the occasion of the vaccination exercise,” outlined Saffrey Brown, PSVI project lead.
“The winning approach appears to involve leaders who are very visible advocates for vaccination throughout the companies, the hosting of VaxCeptance sensitisation sessions – which we help to coordinate – so staff can have their hesitancy concerns addressed by trusted experts and also collaborating with others within their ecosystem – whether it be partners, customers, contractors, suppliers or even neighbouring businesses within the same location,” she elaborated.
The PSVI was established in March 2021 as a mechanism to support the government’s effort to reach population immunity – 65% of the population. Since that time the Initiative has mobilised the private sector and contributed technical expertise along with more than $25m in financial support.