Sat | Oct 16, 2021

Private sector to introduce pilot programme to vaccinate 1,200

Published:Wednesday | July 28, 2021 | 1:01 PM
14 companies from various sectors including financial services, manufacturing, agro-processing, telecommunications, hospitality, and real estate will participate in the pilot. - Contributed photo.

A pilot programme to vaccinate 1,200 persons in the productive sector with the Oxford/AstraZeneca vaccine is to be rolled out tomorrow by the Private Sector Vaccine Initiative (PSVI).

Using the protocols designed by the Ministry of Health and Wellness, the PSVI, which is a coalition of Jamaica's private sector interests, says it will act as an agent of the Ministry and pre-register staff and named dependents from companies that have participated in the initiative since March 2021.

It says that 14 companies from various sectors including financial services, manufacturing, agro-processing, telecommunications, hospitality, and real estate will participate in the pilot.

“We are excited to partner with the MoHW on this project, which is in keeping with our mandate to boost the pace and penetration of vaccinations in Phase 2 of the national vaccination plan,” explained Peter Melhado, PSVI's chair of logistics and operations. 

“What we have set up is a system that offers companies an efficient and convenient way to get their employees vaccinated. This pilot exercise will allow us to stress-test our concept ahead of a wider, more sustained programme that will complement the MoHW's operations once vaccine supplies increase over the next few weeks,” he continued.

Following the pilot exercise, the PSVI says it will implement a programme with national reach over the period August to October, during which the entity intends to vaccinate nearly 300,000 private sector employees and dependents. 

The PSVI's national programme will include two "semi-permanent" sites, one each in Montego Bay, St James and Kingston, as well roving vaccination sites to be housed at companies with large employee numbers.

The entity says the roving sites will be scheduled based on the health ministry's national vaccination plan priority sectors, which include tourism, manufacturing, financial services, transport and agri-business.

In partnership with the media, the PSVI says it will also launch a marketing campaign to encourage the private sector to utilise this programme as the pathway to getting more than 65% of the targeted workforce vaccinated by the end of October.

“Private sector leaders remain committed to getting back to an environment of low unemployment and business expansion that pertained prior to the pandemic; we are very aware that a vaccinated workforce means a safer and more robust economy, which benefits everyone,” Melhado stated.

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