February 16, 2021 | Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie |
Major Development in West Indies COVID Fight.
St. Lucia with a population of 180,000 has started to roll out the Jab. A donation from India and some from Barbados has made this possible.
Minister of Information & Broadcasting Doninique was being interviewed on radio in Jamaica on Friday February 12, 2021. He was sitting in for PM Chasteney, he stated inter alia:
“Tourism is an area key to our economy. We have based on last census a population of 180,000 residents. Some 150,000 are adults and the rest are children. We are expected to get 300,000 doses in total.”
Continuing the St. Lucian Government Minister further stated;
“Tourism is key to our economy. So we need to give them, tourism workers priority, as it relates to the initial vaccination recipients. Tourism contribute about 40 to 80 percent of GDP. You can only be transported at the St. Lucia’s Airport by a COVID free taxi driver.”
Dr. Figaroa, is a Jamaican Epidemiologist who is also a UN Consultant on the Vaccine issue, he was invited to weigh in on the radio interview:
” Some16 percent being proposed for Jamaica is an important figure, this will not give Jamaica herd immunity, but is a good start. The Reproductive number is one. This will stem the spread of the virus. Other doses will complete the job.
An estimated 1 million US dollars is being allocated to educate the public on the vaccine issue.
Dr. Figuroa also said that:
“There is a high demand for the vaccines internationally.” The vaccines are relatively safe. Report that a recipient got a tender spot and slight fever are not very serious reactions. The patient was able to go about her normal duties despite these minor ailments.”
Dr. Tufton stated:
Dr. Christopher Tufton, Jamaica’s health Minister has announced that Jamaica will roll out it’s vaccine programme in mid February 2021 and between 120,000 to 250,000 doses are to be given out. Frontline workers, and the prisoner population are priority persons to be given first. A PR campaign costing over JA$400 million dollars will also be rolled out. Initial take up is projected to be 30 to 40 percent of the population of 3 million persons in Jamaica. Tufton wants all on board. Public and private sectors.
The NAJ President Patsy Edwards- Henry said:
Nurses are reluctant to take up the vaccine because I understand that they have been asked to sign individual indemnity letters which would absolve authorities of any liability should the Vaccine cause any health issues. This seems to be a departure from the initially stated position that the Government would sign this blanket indemnity, a requirement from the manufacturers for the vaccines as a precondition for receiving same. Clarification seems to be needed in this regard. This position stated by NAJ President Henry appears to be a rumour.
We need a high take up as the vaccines are very expensive. A drain on our scarce foreign exchange. We are urging all to get vaccinated.
Hopeton O’Connor-Dennie is a veteran journalist who has International exposure.