PSVI, AFJ go after vulnerable, co-morbid with community vaccination drive

Kingston, March 9, 2021 – The American Friends of Jamaica, Inc. (AFJ) has funded a three-month programme focused on vaccinating people in vulnerable communities.  This contribution to the national vaccination effort will be executed in collaboration with the PSVI to target people who are 60 years and older, co-morbid and who possess increased likelihood of severe illness if they contract COVID-19.  People with other vulnerable conditions, such as compromised immunity, poverty and lack of ready access to vaccination and related healthcare services will also be targeted in this programme.

Starting today (March 9) to May 2022 the programme will rely on vulnerability ranking data from the Mona GeoInformatics Institute (MGI) along with the vaccine penetration data from the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) to help select communities for the intervention. Additional mobilisation efforts from NGOs, community based organisations (CBOs), the church and other civil society groups will help build awareness and drive take up of the four vaccines currently available in Jamaica.

The AFJ has been supporting vaccination in communities since April 2021 and sees the partnership with PSVI as another opportunity to strengthen its efforts to minimise the impact of the pandemic, especially among vulnerable populations and communities.

“We are happy to partner with the PSVI, which has a strong logistics and vaccination framework. Having been across the island and facilitated over 40,000 vaccinations we know that the team comes with the right experience and know-how, which we will leverage to ensure we reach and protect the most vulnerable in our society,” explained Wendy Hart, AFJ president.  

“The fact that they have been collaborating closely with the MoHW for just about a year of the national vaccination plan, we know that the standards, ways of working and safety protocols are well understood by the team so, like the AFJ team, residents have every reason to be confident about the vaccine operations that will come into their communities throughout the period,” she added.

“The AFJ is a great partner and the PSVI is pleased to be collaborating with the team at this time to carry out a very critical aspect of our response to the pandemic. We know that many communities and vulnerable groups have faced challenges with access and misinformation so this drive will give us a chance to intervene in a meaningful way and make the kind of impact that will keep more people and communities safe from this deadly virus,” said Christopher Zacca, chairman PSVI Oversight Committee.

 “Despite the slow pace of vaccine take-up among the population, it is our hope that this new leg of the programme will yield even greater results, bringing us closer to where we need to be,” he concluded. 

The PSVI/AFJ Community Vaccination Drive is also supported by Flow, which has provided mobile data service and Budget Car Rental/ Stewarts Automotive Group, which is providing support on transportation.

As of March 3, the Ministry of Health and Wellness had administered more than 1,363,749 doses of vaccines. More than 680,937 persons have received a first dose of the vaccine, 566,106 have received two doses; 87,810 have got a single-dose shot; 3,169 immune-compromised persons have received an additional dose, while just over 25,711 persons have received a booster shot. Some 653,790 persons are fully vaccinated, representing 22 per cent of the population.

Based on the vaccination data, Jamaica is a far way from the target of inoculating 65 per cent of the population by March 2022.  This is particularly worrying for the stakeholders as vaccination is the key factor for a full reopening of the economy in a way that is safe for all.

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