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Sandals Foundation gives shot in the arm to vaccination drive

Published:Tuesday | April 6, 2021 | 12:20 AM

The Private Sector Vaccine Initiative (PSVI) has received a donation of supplies valued at more than $2 million from the Sandals Foundation as it ramps up support for the Ministry of Health and Wellness’ national vaccination plan.

The supplies include infrared thermometers with batteries, coolers, tents, chairs, and tables that will strengthen the capacity of health centres administering the COVID-19 vaccines, which began on March 10 across the island.

The PSVI has committed to assist the Government of Jamaica (GOJ) to increase the pace and penetration of vaccinations by mobilising private-sector members to provide funds that will support all three phases of the immunisation campaign. This includes the provision of logistical and technical resources, along with the procurement of critical hardware.

The initiative is also coordinating the donation of items needed, such as those provided by the Sandals Foundation, to adequately stock vaccination centres across the island.

Heidi Clarke, executive director at the Sandals Foundation, said it was important for the organisation to bolster the efforts of healthcare workers.

Expects more contributions

“We are grateful to the Sandals Foundation team for this donation and commend them for always stepping up and answering the call to partner for the good of the nation,” said Chris Zacca, chairman of the Oversight Committee of the PSVI.

“As the programme rolls out, we expect to see more contributions from our members, as the response to the request for support has been extremely positive.”

In addition to the GOJ’s vaccination sites, the PSVI, whose partner base also includes the Jamaica Hotel and Tourist Association and Global Services Association of Jamaica, aims to utilise established medical facilities and personnel within the organisations’ network who are prepared to contribute to supporting increased vaccination capacity islandwide.

On Monday, March 8, the first shipment of 50,000 doses of vaccines, donated by the Government of India, arrived in the island. Since then, the Government has been rolling out its vaccination plan to ensure that all frontline workers are vaccinated.

On March 15, another 14,400 doses of COVID-19 vaccines, through the COVAX Facility, arrived here.

The National Health Fund has reported that more than 120,000 doses should reach Jamaica’s shores by May.

More than 42,000 persons have been vaccinated so far.